THE 10 BEST Svalbard Tours & Excursions

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  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

tour to svalbard

1. Green Dog Svalbard

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2. Poli Arctici

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3. Better Moments

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4. Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions

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5. Hurtigruten Svalbard

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6. Husky Travellers

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7. Arctic Adventures

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8. Polar Dream Travel

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9. Svalbard Husky

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10. Spitzbergen Adventures

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11. Svalbard Adventures

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12. Svalbard Villmarkssenter - Day Tours

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13. Backyard Svalbard

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14. Henningsen Transport & Guiding

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15. Basecamp Explorer Spitsbergen

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16. Discover Svalbard

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17. Secret Atlas

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18. Longyearbyen Guiding

Leaving_footsteps

19. Spitzbergen Outdoor Activities

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20. Polar Permaculture Solutions

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21. Grumant Arctic Travel Company

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22. See & Explore

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23. Svalbard Trekking - Day Tours

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24. Svalbard Adventure Group Fjordsafari RIB Boat

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25. FatBike Spitsbergen

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26. Svalbard Bus and Taxi

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27. Svalbard Kayak

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28. Arctic Explore

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29. Arctic Wildlife Tours

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30. Better Moments Svalbard

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What travelers are saying

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  • Poli Arctici
  • Green Dog Svalbard
  • Polar Dream Travel
  • Arctic Adventures
  • Husky Travellers
  • Svalbard Husky
  • Polar Permaculture Solutions
  • Spitzbergen Outdoor Activities
  • Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions
  • Better Moments

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Svalbard Tour Packages

An escape to Svalbard promises to be an adventure you’ll never forget! Journey to this Arctic archipelago in winter to chase the northern lights, or travel in summer for the midnight sun. These Svalbard tours include your accommodation, guided excursions and airport transfers, all arranged by your own dedicated travel consultant.

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About Your Svalbard Tour

Whether you’re whizzing across snow-dusted landscapes or learning to drive a dog sled, you can expect the extraordinary in Svalbard. What’s more, exciting activities like this are already included in your tour package. With insider knowledge from your local guides, you’ll get the most out of your trip to Arctic Norway.

When you book a partially guided tour of Svalbard with Nordic Visitor, you’ll get: • An authentic travel experience operated by a trusted company • A dedicated travel consultant who will arrange your entire trip • Excursions led by experienced professional guides • Handpicked accommodation for a relaxing stay • 24/7 phone support during your trip for peace of mind

Nordic Visitor has made it easy to plan your Svalbard holiday. Begin your adventure by following these simple steps: 1. Pick your favourite Nordic Visitor tour 2. Confirm your package 3. Check your confirmation email 4. Book your flights 5. Get ready for your trip

Why Choose Nordic Visitor

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Established in 2002, Nordic Visitor has been designing tours in Northern Europe ever since. Using their insider knowledge of Svalbard, your regional travel consultant will arrange your trip for you. What’s more, you can rest easy knowing that each part of your package is quality-tested by us.

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Nordic Visitor is dedicated to the best service quality, and this is reflected year after year when TripAdvisor awards us with their Certificate of Excellence . We also take great pride in our customer feedback: 97% of our travellers say they would recommend us to friends and family.

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You can reach us 24/7 throughout your trip. If anything unforeseen crops up, get in touch and a travel expert will be available to assist you. This includes minimising any disruption to your itinerary. So you can explore with confidence, safe in the knowledge that support is just a call away.

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Pick any of these Nordic Visitor Svalbard trips and we’ll take care of the details for you. Your dedicated travel consultant will book your accommodation, guided excursions and airport transfers before you get there. This means that from the moment you touch down, your experience will be seamless.

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With Nordic Visitor, you have peace of mind knowing your tour arrangements with us are 100% financially protected. Your payments are safeguarded as we comply with European Union laws on Package Travel regulations. This guarantees you a refund in the unlikely event of insolvency.

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These Svalbard tours already include handpicked activities, but we know that your travel wish list is unique to you. So why not personalise your itinerary with optional extras, such as guided hikes or snowmobile rides? Plus, you’ll have the option to extend your stay with additional nights.

Customer Reviews

Nordic Visitor may be a new name in Svalbard tourism, but we’ve been around for a while in the Nordic countries. In Norway and beyond, we’ve established a great reputation with our local suppliers and guests from all over the world. It won't be long until you can read new reviews here! Maybe yours will be next?

Your Svalbard Vacation Highlights

Dazzling ice caps and rugged fjords are waiting for you in this remote archipelago where the polar bear is king. Visit Svalbard and you could…

  • Spend time in Longyearbyen , the most northerly town in the world
  • Chase enchanting and colourful displays of the northern lights in winter
  • Go wildlife-watching on Spitsbergen , home to Arctic foxes, polar bears and reindeer
  • Learn about the history and culture of these islands when you tour the Svalbard Museum
  • Soak up jaw-dropping scenery with endless daylight, thanks to summer’s midnight sun
  • Try your hand at mushing on a dog sledding excursion to the Adventdalen Valley
  • Join a guided snowmobile tour , where you’ll glide through untouched landscapes
  • Immerse yourself in nature when you stay at the remote Isfjord Radio Adventure Hotel
  • Find out why Svalbard is a perfect place for one of the world’s Global Seed Vaults

Frequently Asked Questions About Svalbard Tour Packages

If you want to know more before planning your trip to Arctic Norway, don’t miss the answers to these frequently asked questions about visiting Svalbard. For even more information, check out this handy Svalbard Travel Guide .

To learn about our booking process, payments and more, please read these FAQs and booking terms .

1. Where is Svalbard?

You’ll find the island chain of Svalbard located around halfway between Northern Norway and the North Pole. This Norwegian archipelago lies well within the Arctic Circle.

The region’s 9 main islands are scattered between latitudes of 74° and 81° N. Spitsbergen is the largest of these islands. And its capital, Longyearbyen, sits at a latitude of 78° N, making it one of the world’s northernmost settlements.

2. Is Svalbard a country?

Svalbard isn’t a country, but it’s been part of the Kingdom of Norway since the Spitsbergen Treaty came into effect in 1925. This connection is why all flights to Svalbard are via Norway.

3. Is Svalbard worth visiting?

If you love off-the-beaten-path adventures, Svalbard’s rugged landscapes should definitely make it onto your travel wishlist. Skip one of those expedition cruises, and instead choose to have an authentic travel experience organised by local experts. On our carefully curated trips, you’ll really get to know the region.

With around just 2,600 people making their home in Svalbard, much of the island chain is pristine wilderness. Think vast glaciers, Arctic tundra and wild fjords.

The archipelago’s fauna doesn’t disappoint either. Not only is this a land where polar bears roam, but you might also glimpse Arctic foxes, seals and reindeer. Come summer, migratory birds arrive and get ready to start nesting. Plus, take to the water and you could spy some of the whale species that swim in the seas around Svalbard.

Why not combine your Arctic escape with other regions of Norway? Get inspired by these top Norwegian vacation spots .

4. Are there polar bears in Svalbard?

Yes, polar bears live in Svalbard year-round. In fact, the islands, and surrounding Barents Sea, are home to about 3,000 of these majestic creatures. This is higher than the number of people that live in the area!

It’s worth remembering that these are wild animals, so you aren’t guaranteed to spot a polar bear. Of course, their presence here also means that outdoor excursions must be with a guide who knows what to do if you come across one. Read more about the measures to protect both polar bears and visitors in this Svalbard travel guide .

Choose a Svalbard tour with Nordic Visitor, and rest easy knowing that we only use handpicked local suppliers with experienced professional guides.

5. Can you see the northern lights in Svalbard?

Absolutely! Svalbard is one of the best places to see the northern lights in Norway . Why, you ask? Well, to see the aurora borealis you need darkness, clear skies, high solar activity, and low light pollution. With its remote position in the Arctic Circle, where there’s lots of solar activity, Svalbard ticks all of these boxes.

If you want to chase the aurora, then the winter months of February and March are an ideal time to visit. This is because the long polar nights mean you’ll have a greater chance of seeing the northern lights.

Find out more about hunting for the aurora in this guide to the northern lights in Norway .

6. Can you visit the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?

Svalbard’s Global Seed Vault is not open to visitors. But it is possible to join a sightseeing tour from Longyearbyen, which stops outside the entrance. From here, you can see how the structure is built into the permafrost. You’ll also be able to admire the art installation above the door into the vault.

7. What is there to do in Svalbard?

No matter when you visit, there’s plenty to see and do in Svalbard . But it’s worth bearing in mind that travelling in summer or winter will change the type of activities you can do during your trip.

For instance, from mid-Novermber to late-January the sun doesn’t rise, this is known as the polar night. And while this is great for spotting the northern lights, you’ll miss out on the epic views. Visit from February into spring though, and you can combine hunting for the aurora with other activities.

Come to Svalbard in winter and you could:

  • • Go on a snowmobiling expedition to a remote Arctic hotel
  • • Try husky sledding through snow-blanketed valleys
  • • Chase breathtaking displays of the northern lights

On the other hand, travel to Svalbard between mid-April and mid-August and you’ll experience the midnight sun. This natural phenomenon is when the sun doesn’t set near the poles.

The longer days and less snowy conditions of summer are best for:

  • • Taking boat trips along the rugged coastline
  • • Exploring the untouched wilderness on guided hikes
  • • Learning how to drive a dog sled with wheels

There are also a few things you can do year-round near Longyearbyen, Svalbard’s capital. Delve into the local culture when you visit Svalbard Museum or the North Pole Expedition Museum. Or take a guided day tour into the surrounding countryside to see key sights, such as the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

You could also grab a pint at Svalbard Bryggeri AS, the most northerly brewery in the world. And there’s Camp Barentz, a restaurant designed to look like the cabin of William Barentz, one of the first people to discover Svalbard.

Check out these other top things to do in Svalbard. And find out more about the best time to visit Norway , with tips on what to do and where to go.

8. How do I get to Svalbard?

The easiest way to get to Svalbard is by getting to Oslo or Tromsø on mainland Norway and taking a connecting flight to Svalbard.

Your travel to and from Svalbard isn’t included in these packages, but we’d be happy to assist you with organising your flights from Oslo (3 hours) or Tromsø (1.5 hours). If you’d like to split your journey with nights in either of these cities, just speak to your travel consultant.

Oslo is the nation’s capital, so you’ll find there are direct flights here from several worldwide locations. Based on the flight schedule and time of year, you could fly direct to Oslo’s airport (OSL) from the likes of:

  • Amsterdam (AMS)
  • Dubai (DXB)
  • Dublin (DUB)
  • Edinburgh (EDI)
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
  • London Heathrow (LHR)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York City (JFK)
  • Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG)
  • Keflavík, near Reykjavík (KEF)
  • Zürich (ZRH)

Tromsø is a smaller airport, which serves fewer destinations. But it’s handy for reaching Svalbard if you’re already in Norway, or are coming from elsewhere in Northern Europe. Depending on the time of year, there are nonstop flights to Tromsø from airports such as London Gatwick (LGW), Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG) and Zürich (ZRH).

9. When should I organise my flights?

We recommend checking what flights are available before booking your Svalbard tour. But it’s best to wait until after your travel consultant has finalised the arrangements for your trip to purchase your flights.

Once they’ve been in touch with your tour confirmation, you can go ahead and make plans for getting to Svalbard.

10. How many days do you need in Svalbard?

To get the most out of your time in Svalbard, you’ll want to allow at least a few days here. Around 4 to 7 days is a good length of time for exploring the area.

With 4 days, you’ll have 2 full days for venturing out into nature. Plus, you might also have time for sightseeing in Longyearbyen on your travel days.

Meanwhile, a week will allow you to head even further off the beaten path. For instance, you could go on guided multi-day excursions by boat or snowmobile, depending on the season. And when you return to Longyearbyen, you’ll have time to see the local attractions and enjoy even more activities.

11. Do I need a visa to visit Svalbard?

Depending on where you’re travelling from, you might need a visa for your trip to Svalbard. This is because, although Svalbard isn’t in the Schengen Area, it’s part of the Kingdom of Norway, which is.

This means if you’re a resident of a country with a visa requirement for the Schengen Area, and you’re travelling to Svalbard via Norway, you will need a visa. Whether or not you require a visa, a valid passport, or other accepted form of ID, are needed to enter the region.

Before you travel make sure to check the rules for entry and residence on the Governor of Svalbard’s website.

12. Can I choose the arrival date?

Yes, you can pick the start date that works for you on these partially guided Svalbard packages.

You can begin summer tours, from May through September, on any day of the week. The tours from February to April or May aren’t available to start on any day, but there are still plenty of dates to choose from.

Each package has an online calendar where you can see up-to-date availability and take your pick from possible departure dates.

13. Can I customise my tour?

Of course, these Svalbard itineraries have been designed so you can tailor your getaway to suit you. When booking online, you can customise your own trip with optional activities and extra nights.

To find out what additional excursions are available, check out the tour page for the trip you’re interested in. Or ask your travel consultant about the activities that would work best for you.

Your options include snowmobiling and dog sledding. Plus, there’s a sightseeing tour from Longyearbyen where you'll see glaciers and some of Spitsbergen’s more historical sights. And why not extend your stay by adding extra nights to your trip?

If there’s something specific you’d like to arrange in Svalbard, just ask your dedicated travel consultant.

14. How should I dress in Svalbard?

When it comes to dressing for Svalbard, it’s worth knowing that the region's name means “cold coast” in Old Norse. Svalbard’s location within the Arctic Circle means that no matter when you visit, you're likely to experience unpredictable weather. And while it can be surprisingly mild on a calm summer's day, temperatures can also drop well below freezing at any time of year.

This means you’ll want to be prepared for all seasons, whether you’re travelling in summer or winter. Layering is the best way to dress for these varied conditions. And this way you can add and remove items as you need them.

Here’s an example of a packing list for Svalbard to get you started:

  • Warm and waterproof hiking boots with good grip
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket and trousers
  • Warm synthetic or down insulated jacket
  • Woollen or fleece jumpers
  • Thermal baselayers
  • Cosy hat, scarf/neck warmer and gloves
  • Thick hiking socks
  • Indoor shoes
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Travel adapter (type C or F)

For extra warmth, disposable hand warmers to put into your gloves are also a good idea. And if you need any special equipment for an excursion included in your tour package, it will be provided as part of the activity.

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Svalbard Travel Guide & Itinerary for First Time Visitors

Julie Last updated: February 2, 2024 Norway , Svalbard 12 Comments

Svalbard Travel Guide and Itinerary

Svalbard. An arctic playground where there are more polar bears than people. This is a land of glaciers, the northern lights, the midnight sun, and frozen tundra. Svalbard may seem barren, but it is filled with arctic wildlife like reindeer, walrus, and polar bears. If you like the idea of exploring the great outdoors, your options are almost endless, winter or summer.

Table of Contents

Svalbard Travel Guide

Why go to svalbard.

If you look at Svalbard on globe, it looks like it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from the North Pole. Longyearbyen, located at 78° north, is the world’s northernmost community.

This is the kind of place where the locals take their kayak, their rifle, their tent, and their dog, and spend days exploring the icy landscapes. These people are badass.

In Svalbard, many adventures await. You can go on “soft” adventures like short hikes or boat cruises. You can step it up a notch by kayaking past glaciers or exploring the snowy landscapes by snowmobile. Or you can be a badass too and go on multi-day snowmobile or sled dog expeditions. If you have lots of time and money to spend, take a one-week cruise around Svalbard in search of polar bears.

Svalbard Kayaking

Kayaking in front of Svea Glacier | Best Things to Do in Svalbard

Svalbard stole my heart. And I was totally unprepared for that. I am not the type of person who likes the cold, or treeless landscapes, or the barrenness that you find in Svalbard. And for some reason, that is exactly why I fell in love it.

Svalbard feels like an adventure. New landscapes, new experiences…it just may become your new favorite place.

Interesting Facts about Svalbard

About 2,100 people from 50 countries call Svalbard home. Norwegians are the largest group, but you can also meet a fair amount of people from Sweden, Russia, and Thailand.

The streets in Longyearbyen have numbers rather than names.

July is the warmest month, with high temperatures averaging a balmy 7°C (45°F). It’s coldest here from January through March, with high temperatures averaging -13°C (9°F). That’s cold, but probably not what you would expect for a city located so far north. The western side of Svalbard receives the warm Atlantic current and this helps moderate the temperatures in Longyearbyen.

Cats are banned in Svalbard since they hunt and kill the native birds.

It’s “illegal” to die in Svalbard. Actually, it’s not  really  illegal to die here, but if you do, you won’t be buried here. The ground is made of permafrost, so bodies that are buried here do not decompose. So yes, there still are perfectly preserved bodies in Svalbard cemetery from 100 years ago.

Giving birth is out of the question, too. Three weeks before a woman’s due date, she must return to the mainland in order to give birth. The medical facilities on Svalbard are not equipped to handle an emergency should one arise during labor and delivery.

It’s customary to remove your shoes when entering hotels, shops, and restaurants in Longyearbyen. This is a tradition that dates back to the coal mining days, as a way to prevent coal dust from being tracked into the buildings.

If you plan to leave town, make sure you are carrying a rifle, just in case you cross paths with a wandering polar bear.

Svalbard Geography 101

Before we dive into what to do and where to go, it helps to get a quick geography lesson.

Svalbard Map

Svalbard Map

Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago that is located in the Arctic Ocean. The name Svalbard refers to this entire group of islands.

Spitsbergen

Spitsbergen is the largest island in Svalbard. This island takes up more than half of Svalbard and it is where you will find almost all of the towns and settlements, with the exception of a few meteorological outposts.

Before the signing of the Svalbard Treaty of 1920, the entire archipelago was known as Spitsbergen. In the 1920’s, Norway renamed the archipelago Svalbard, but even today, you can still sometimes see this landmass referred to as Spitsbergen.

The smaller islands go by the names Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya.

Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen is the largest settlement in Svalbard. It is also the world’s northernmost city. This is a town where the streets have no names, reindeer wander through town, and there are more snowmobiles than people. If you have plans to visit Svalbard, Longyearbyen is where you will eat, sleep, and fill your time in between arctic adventures.

Learn more about Longyearbyen, including what to do in town in between excursions, in our article Top Ten Things to do in Longyearbyen.

Pyramiden is an abandoned Russian mining town near Longyearbyen and it is one of the most popular excursions in Svalbard. According to National Geographic, Pyramiden is one of the top ten best ghost towns to visit in the world.

Learn more on how to plan a visit here in our article about Pyramiden.

Barentsburg

Barentsburg is the only Russian settlement since Pyramiden was abandoned. It is primarily a mining town although there is a hotel and a few shops for those tourists who visit here from Longyearbyen.

A popular day trip from Longyearbyen is a full day cruise to Barentsburg and Pyramiden.

Ny-Ålesund is a settlement that is primarily a research facility. This town is owned and operated by Kings Bay, which provides the facilities for the research institutes.

Best Time to Go to Svalbard

Svalbard can be visited year round and the season will have a huge impact on what you can do.

There are three main seasons on Svalbard. The summer months, from mid-May through the end of September, have relatively warm temperatures (up to 10°C, 50°F). This is the time of the midnight sun, so if you haven’t experienced this yet, it’s wild to see the sun shining at 1 am! The summer months are the best time to go hiking and kayaking. However, there won’t be any snow on the ground, so don’t expect to go snowmobiling.

Svalbard Landscape

Svalbard in June

During the winter months, from the beginning of October through the end of February, Svalbard is dark and cold. The advantage of 24 hours of darkness is the chance to catch the northern lights day and night. Wouldn’t that be wild…to see the northern lights midday?!

The spring months, from March through mid-May, is an awesome time to visit Svalbard. The sun is making an appearance once again, it’s getting a little warmer, and there is enough snow on the ground to go on those snowmobiling and sled dog expeditions.

We visited Svalbard at the end of June 2018. Temperatures hovered around 45°F. This is peak season, so expect higher temperatures and higher crowds. Even so, Longyearbyen feels almost empty compared with pretty much every other spot in Europe during the summertime.

Hiorthfjellet

Hiorthfjellet | Hiking to the top of this mountain is one of the best things to do in Svalbard

Best Things to Do in Svalbard

So, what is there to do in Svalbard? A lot. You may be surprised by your choices.

Summer Months (mid-May through September)

  • Boat Cruises
  • Walrus Safari
  • Fishing Trips
  • Fat Tire Biking
  • Dog Sledding (on wheels)

Winter Months (October through February)

  • Northern Lights Expeditions
  • Explore an Ice Cave
  • Full Moon Snowmobile trips
  • Dog Sledding

Spring Months (March through mid-May)

  • Snowmobile Excursions
  • Walrus Expeditions
  • Northern Lights Expeditions (through March)
  • Ski Expedition

For a full list of the activities and excursions in Svalbard, visit the official Visit Svalbard website. It can be a little overwhelming, but by using the filters of time of year, activity, and duration, you can narrow down your choices.

Looking for more adventures to add to your bucket list? Check out our list: 50 Adventures to Have in Your Lifetime. 

Svalbard Glacier

Nordenskiold Glacier | Best Things to Do in Svalbard

What’s the Best Way to See a Polar Bear?

It’s estimated that 3,000 polar bears call Svalbard home. It may sound like a lot, but even so, you have to be very lucky in order to spot one of these guys.

There are no “official” polar bear expeditions. You just have to hope that you are lucky enough to spot a polar bear while out on another expedition.

Your best chances of spotting a polar bear is by going on a multi-day cruise around Svalbard, usually during the summer months. Even then, there is no guarantee.

How to Get to Svalbard

You can get to Svalbard by airplane or on a cruise.

SAS offers daily flights to Longyearbyen via Tromsø. Norwegian offers flights several days a week out of Oslo.

Hurtigruten offers cruises to and from Svalbard. For a full list of their options, click here.

Svalbard is located outside of the Schengen zone. You will need to bring your passport.

How to Get around Longyearbyen

To get from the airport into town, you can either take the airport shuttle (NOK 170 round trip) or take a taxi (more expensive).  Click here for the bus timetable.

Longyearbyen is a small town and it is easy to walk everywhere. For any excursions you sign up for, transportation is usually covered in the cost.

Where to Stay in Longyearbyen

Basecamp Hotel. Warm, cozy, and rustic, this is just what you would imagine an arctic hotel to look like. The hotel offers lots of different excursions, the included breakfast is awesome, and the hotel has a fantastic location right in the center of town.

Basecamp Explorer Svalbard

Basecamp Hotel | Best Things to Do in Svalbard

We spent two nights here, staying in the family room. We had two bedrooms, a loft, a bathroom, and a small living area. We loved it here.

Radisson Blu Polar Hotel. The Radisson Blu is the largest hotel in Longyearbyen. This had a totally different vibe than the Basecamp Explorer. This seemed to be where all of the tour groups stayed. It did not have that quiet, cozy, rustic feel like Basecamp Explorer but our room was amazing.

We stayed in the Ulf Prytz suite. This place was huge and our view across Adventfjord to Hiorthfjellet was spectacular. Tyler and Kara slept on pull out sofas in the living room and Tim and I slept in the bedroom. Breakfast was also included.

Radisson Blu Svalbard

We disliked the crowded, touristy feel of this hotel. If it weren’t for our awesome suite and its amazing view, I think we would have disliked it here. Our hotel room was located in a separate building so we only had to join the crowds when we ate breakfast.

Svalbard Hotell. This modern hotel is located in the center of Longyearbyen. The rooms are beautifully decorated and complimentary breakfast is provided. This hotel is also home to Polfareren, a gourmet restaurant we loved.

Svalbard Hotell

Coal Miner’s Cabins. If you are looking for a decent budget accommodation, this is a great choice. Many rooms have a shared bathroom, although there are a few rooms where you can pay more for a private bathroom. This hotel is located outside of the city center so expect a 20-minute walk to get down into town.

Gjestehuset 102. This hostel is another good budget option. It’s located very close to the Coal Miner’s Cabins. All rooms have a shared bathroom.

Funken Lodge. This newly refurbished hotel is one of the most expensive options on this list. Rooms are large and modern and there is a French restaurant attached to the property. Funken Lodge is located a short walk outside of the heart of Longyearbyen.

Mary-Ann’s Polarigg. This quirky hotel has turned the old, wooden barracks of the miners into hotel rooms. Prices vary widely, from cheaper rooms with a shared bathroom to very expensive suites.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you will be visiting Svalbard during the summer months, make sure you pack a sleep mask. Not all hotels provide blackout curtains and having a sleep mask could help you catch those zzz’s you need.

Our recommendations

If you are looking for a small, rustic hotel, pick the Basecamp Explorer.

If you want a modern hotel that gets rave reviews and is located in the center of town, stay at the Svalbard Hotell.

If you don’t want to spend a fortune, take your pick from the Coal Miner’s Cabins or Gjestehuset 102.

Finally, if you want a room with a view, try booking the Ulf Prytz Suite at the Radisson Blu.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Book your hotels and your excursions as soon as you know the dates for your trip. We booked our hotels at the beginning of February for our trip at the end of June. We were unable to get four consecutive nights at one hotel for our dates, which is why we stayed in two different hotels.

Hiking Svalbard

Looking back at Longyearbyen during our hike up Hiorthfjellet | Best Things to Do in Svalbard

Where to Eat

Kroa. This restaurant was recommended to us by Nanna, our guide on the Arctic Challenge. It was so good we ate here twice! It’s warm and cozy inside, with a rustic décor and animal skins on the walls. The moose burgers are awesome and so is the chocolate fondant cake. If you’re vegetarian, I ate the lentil stew, which was also very good.

Svalbar. This is a great place to go for burgers and beer.

Polfareren. If you want a gourmet meal that doesn’t totally blow the budget, we recommend this restaurant. Everything we ate was amazing.

Fruene Kaffe Og Vinbar. This bakery serves pastries and sandwiches and soups. It’s a great place if you are looking for good, budget friendly food.

Gruvelageret. This is the closest you can get to a Michelin starred restaurant in Svalbard. Located in an old mining hut, you dine on a four course set menu of white bean soup, reindeer, halibut, and profiteroles.

Huset Svalbard. This is Longyearbyen’s premier dining experience. Come here for a gourmet dinner or for a wine tasting. The 20,000 bottle wine cellar is the northernmost wine cellar in the world and receives multiple awards from Wine Spectator.

How Much does it Cost to Visit Svalbard?

Svalbard is expensive. This is not a budget destination. There are ways to cut costs, such as staying in a hostel and buying your food at the grocery store rather than dining in restaurants. But if you’re going to fly all of the way to Svalbard, you have to be prepared to fork over some serious money to really experience the island.

We have detailed article of how much we spent in Svalbard, with a full cost breakdown of flights, activities, accommodations, and meals. 

Packing List for Svalbard

For a detailed list of what to pack for the summer months, read our Svalbard Packing Guide.

Svalbard Itinerary

How much time should you spend in Svalbard? At a minimum, you should plan on spending two full days and three nights in Svalbard. This gives you two days to go on excursions. More time is better, if you have the time and money.

We spent 5 days in Svalbard in June 2018.

Here is Our Itinerary:

Day 1: 9 pm: arrive in Longyearbyen from Oslo

Day 2: Full day excursion – the Arctic Challenge: kayaking Adventfjord and hiking Hiorthfjellet. Dinner at Polfareren.

Day 3: Free morning to explore Longyearbyen. Noon to 7 pm on the cruise to Pyramiden . Dinner at Kroa.

Day 4: All day glacier kayaking excursion with Better Moments. Dinner at Kroa.

Day 5: Morning to explore Longyearbyen . Lunch at Fruene Kaffe. 2 pm flight to Tromsø.

We felt like this was a nice amount of time for our first visit to Svalbard. If we had one more day, it would have been perfect. During the planning process, we weren’t sure if we were going to like Svalbard, which sounds crazy, because now it’s one of our favorite spots in the world.

Kayaking Svalbard

Kayaking across Adventfjord | Best Things to Do in Svalbard

Are you planning a trip to Svalbard? Did we miss anything? Comment below if you have any questions!

More Information for Your Trip to Svalbard & Norway:

NORTHERN NORWAY ITINERARY: On this 10 day Norway itinerary, visit the Lofoten Islands but also road trip through Senja and the Vesteralen Islands, two beautiful off the beaten path destinations.

10 DAYS IN THE FJORD REGION: On this 10 day itinerary through the fjord region, visit southern Norway: Bergen, Geirangerfjord, and Stavanger and hike Trolltunga, Pulpit Rock and Kjeragbolten.

LOFOTEN ISLANDS: For an overview of the best things to do, read our Lofoten Islands Top Ten List. Get lots of travel planning advice in our Lofoten Islands Itinerary. For advice on where to stay, read our Lofoten Islands Hotel Guide.

BEST OF NORWAY: For a list of top experiences in Norway, don’t miss our Norway Bucket List. If you are a hiker, we also have a hiking guide with 14 epic day hikes to do in Norway.

ADVENTURES IN NORWAY: Trolltunga and Kjeragbolten are two of the best hikes to do in Norway. For an even bigger adventure, climb Svolvaergeita in the Lofoten Islands.

EUROPE TRAVEL INSPIRATION: For more great ideas on where to go in Europe, check out our article 30 Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe and the 20 Best Hikes in Europe. You can also get more travel ideas in our 10 Days in Europe itinerary guide, which has 10 great itineraries for your next trip to Europe.

Is your trip to Svalbard part of a bigger trip to Norway? Read all of our articles about Norway in our Norway Travel Guide.

Svalbard Travel Guide and Itinerary

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Things to do in Longyearbyen

Comments 12

Avatar for Badri

Is it better to do day trips or a multi-day adventure trip like the 3-day summer program at Nordenskold Lodge with Basecamp Explorer? Weighing quality of experience and price

Avatar for Julie

We only did day trips and I don’t know much about the multi-day programs. It depends on what is included with a multi-day program. It could be more expensive if food and lodging is included in the price (but make sure you know what you are getting). If you like the activities more on the multi-day program or if takes you away from Longyearbyen, then it could be worth it. You could add up the costs of both options and make a decision based on price and overall experience. Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Merrilee

I will be visiting Longyearbyen this summer (late June). I had planned to take an 8 day boat trip to see polar bears, but it was just cancelled because of Covid (in 2022) and I have decided to just spend the 8 days in Longyearbyen, using it as a base for short excursions. Do I have to reserve excursions in advance, or can I just do it once I get there and see what people recommend?

I’m sorry to hear that your cruise was cancelled. With that amount of time, I would say schedule in advance the tours that look of most interest to you. The more popular tours can sell out in advance. You could leave a few days free towards the end of your visit to add on anything else that looks interesting. I wonder if you can take a shorter tour, like a two to three day tour (such as a shorter cruise), since you have so much time. Another thing you can do, if they are offering it, is to spend the night in Pyramiden in the hotel. It would be a very unique experience. Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Violet C

I am planning a trip to Norway and Svalbard and your website keeps coming up in my searches. I love your blog. You provide the perfect amount of information and your photos are amazing. I am planning a trip for late 2021 and keeping my fingers crossed that we will be able to safely travel at that point. Thanks again.

You’re welcome! We wish you safe travels. Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Katy Emanuel

This is a place that has been on our family bucket list for a while now. Wondering what ages you think are best for visiting here? Our kids are now 5 and 8 years so we would like to go when they are old enough to be able to do the excursions, etc and enjoy them. Our kids are avid hikers and 11 mile hikes aren’t an issue, but it is more the other types of excursions, kayaking, age appropriateness etc where we aren’t so sure.

Hello Katy. Some excursions have minimum age limits. For example, we took the kayaking and hiking excursion up Hiorthfjellet and this had a minimum age of 16. This is one of the more adventurous tours you can take in Svalbard. Kara was almost 14 so they waived the age requirement, because of her hiking experience, but it is something to keep in mind. In general, I think saving the visit for when your kids are 10 to 12 (or even a little older) is best, so you all can have the ability to do most or all of the tours. Take a look at the Visit Svalbard website (there is a link in this post) and look through the tours that interest you. With a few clicks you can learn the minimum ages for the tours. This will give a more concrete time about when to visit Svalbard. Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Jess

Svalbard looks amazing! Thank you for all the great info. Did you see any polar bears while you were there?

No, we didn’t unfortunately. Usually, you have to take a multi-day excursion out from Longyearbyen to see the polar bears. Maybe next time! Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Holly Watson-Evans

Love your blog and website! AND.. I also LOVED Svalbard. I went there with my 2 Norwegian friends in Oct 2016. (yes, I had to “Google it” when we were planning our trip and they suggested we go there). Just an amazing place – we went to see the glaciers, searched for polar bears (saw one in the distance), visited the Seed bank and did a 7 hour hike to the summit of Trollsteinen — in the sleet and rain. Trekking over a glacier and hiking up the fjords, that hike will likely remain one of the highlights of my life (especially when our plane flew directly over it on our way out of Longyearbyen). My friends even took me to the town auction, where an enormous polar bear hide (among other VERY Svalbard-specific items) was auctioned off. I feel Svalbard is difficult to describe unless you see it firsthand. My wish is that it NEVER changes and that tourism does not spoil the incredible natural beauty, quirkiness and sense of remoteness that makes it the destination it is today.

Hello Holly. Svalbard is awesome, isn’t it?! 🙂 We debated doing Trollsteinen…it looks like another great hike to do. Glad you had a good time there…such a unique travel spot. Happy travels! Cheers, Julie

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Bookings & Enquiries

tour to svalbard

More polar bears than people, reindeers, mining town history, picture perfect glaciers, dog sledding, snowmobiling, Franz Josef Land- a remote archipelago, polar nights with Northern Lights/ Aurora Borealis and midnight sun in the summer. An Eldorado for nature-based activities!

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Tour Standard

tour to svalbard

Basecamp Nordenskiöld Svalbard

5 days - Independent adventure tour | True Arctic Wilderness.

Eveline Lunde

Svalbard Northern Lights Adventure

4 days - Silent Esledding, Wilderness Safaris & Ice Cave Adventure in Spitsbergen

tour to svalbard

Magic of the Arctic

5 days - Boutique stay in Svalbard | Rib boats | Glacier exploring

Træna, Terje Rakke Nordic Life - www.nordnorge

Oslo, Bergen and Svalbard Express

14 days - Visit Oslo, Norway in a Nutshell, Bergen then voyage to Svalbard

Marvin Kuhr - Visit Helgeland

Oslo, Bergen and Svalbard Express Deluxe

15 days - Visit Oslo, Norway in a Nutshell, Bergen then voyage to Svalbard

Elida Langstein

Spitsbergen Arctic Darkness

4 days - Out of this world 24-hour darkness, Arctic adventures and dogsledding

Brim Explorer

Spitsbergen Arctic Summer

4 days - Arctic adventures, pristine nature and glaciers

  • Pre or Post Cruise

WHY TRAVEL TO SVALBARD?:

Arctic tours and voyages are our speciality and as Svalbard is the northernmost part of Norway, this is a destination we know well. With its open landscapes, sparse vegetation and endless glaciers, a trip here will certainly make you feel on top of the world!

Svalbard (also knows as Spitsbergen & Spitzbergen which is the main islands' name) combines as a station for Arctic research, climatology and a perfect adventure holiday destination. Dog sledding, glaciers, boat cruising, polar bears, the midnight sun and the beautiful Northern Lights/ Aurora Borealis are highlights on your adventure to Svalbard.

Summer and winter are both excellent for visiting Svalbard, each with their unique characteristics- summer in perpetuity of light and winter with a country lit up by Northern Lights around the clock (conditions permitting) Svalbard is the only permanently settled place on earth where you can experience dayside Northern Lights. On our Spitsbergen Northern Lights tour , you can experience this unique winter atmosphere of Svalbard and its Polar Nights.

OUR SVALBARD TOURS CAN INCLUDE:

For a true taste of all that Svalbard has to offer in summer, join a Hurtigruten Spitsbergen and Polar Bears on MS Nordstjernen voyage , getting into the far-reaching fjords of Svalbard, in search of Polar Bears. You will experience an extraordinary Arctic landscape, glaciers and bird cliffs.

If you are looking for adventure, our independent Basecamp Nordenskiöld true Arctic wilderness tour is suitable for both singles, couples and groups. Stay in a true hunting cabin- but with modern comforts while exploring arctic nature and beauty with options for treks, kayaking, glacier walks and much more.

Svalbard (Spitsbergen)

Since 1999, we have taken adventurous travellers on once-in-a-lifetime trips to Svalbard. From May to September our three small expedition ships, carrying a maximum of only 12 and 50 passengers, explore this magnificent Arctic archipelago. Unpredictability and flexibility are the main keywords when you travel through Svalbard’s untamed wilderness with PolarQuest as the exact route depends on weather, ice conditions and wildlife encounters. Sometimes you might be woken up in the middle of the bright night if a polar bear has been spotted on the ice. Sustainability is at the heart of what we do, we measure all our emissions and invest in climate projects that effectively reduce emissions.

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Springtime in Svalbard 2024

Expedition Svalbard with Doug Allan 2024

Yoga in Svalbard with M/S Quest 2024

Travel Svalbard

Svalbard Adventure 2024

©Kerstin Langenberger

Abenteuer Spitzbergen 2024

Expedition Svalbard 2024

Expedition Svalbard with Rick Tomlinson 2024

Expedition Spitzbergen 2024

Reine, Norway

The Norwegian fjords, Bear Island & Svalbard 2024

Lofoten

The Norwegian fjords, Bear Island & Svalbard 2025

Springtime in Svalbard 2025

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Svalbard Adventure 2025

Expedition Svalbard 2025

Abenteuer Spitzbergen 2025

Expedition Spitzbergen 2025

Experience our trips to svalbard (spitsbergen).

Polar bear, Svalbard

tour to svalbard

Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, located between 76° and 81° North. It lies directly north of North Cape on the Norwegian mainland. Spitsbergen is the largest island and occupies more than half of the area. Some of the other islands are Nordaustlandet, Edgeøya, Barentsøya, Prins Karls Forland, Kong Karls Land, Kvitøya/ White Island, and Bjørnøya/Bear Island. The total area is approximately 62,160 sqkm, roughly equivalent to the size of Ireland.

The name Svalbard is first mentioned in the Icelandic archives from the year 1194, "Svalbardr fundr" – Svalbard is found. It is uncertain, however, whether it was the land or the ice edge that had been discovered, since Svalbard can be interpreted as "cold coast" or "cold edge". It would take another several hundred years before any of the major nations in Europe discovered Svalbard. In 1596 two Dutch ships sailed north to round the tip of Norway, hoping to find a shortcut to China and India. On board one of the ships was the pilot Willem Barents, who is officially regarded as the discoverer of Svalbard. The Dutch were impressed by Svalbard's dramatic and mountainous landscape, and named the land Spitsbergen.

Svalbard soon became a natural starting point for several more or less successful attempts to reach the North Pole. Ice-free waters cannot be found this far north anywhere else on Earth. Nordenskiöld, Amundsen and Andrée are some well-known Arctic explorers who have attempted to reach the North Pole.  

Wildlife and nature

To most visitors, Svalbard is a life changing experience. It is a truly magic world with midnight sun and pack ice, glittering glaciers and exceptional wildlife – not far from the North Pole. The exact number of polar bears is hard to measure since the bears move across huge areas. During an expedition cruise, however, there are great chances to encounter some of them. The ice plays a central role in the Arctic ecosystem, which is both unique and vulnerable. In many ways, the mammals are Svalbard’s very soul. Half of the 22 species of mammal that live on land and ice and in the sea around Svalbard are whales. Svalbard reindeer and Arctic fox are the only mammals that live entirely on land.

Svalbard has a rich bird life, particularly sea birds that nest in large colonies. More than 200 bird species have been observed in Svalbard and its surrounding waters, but only a few species nest here. Four species account for 95% of Svalbard’s abundant bird life: Brünnich’s guillemot, the northern fulmar, the little auk and the black-legged kittiwake. Nowhere else on earth do you find birds in such impressive numbers this far north.

Glaciers and pack ice

Svalbard is still in the ice age. Glaciers cover 60% of the land and the ice can be up to 600 metres thick. There are more than 2,100 glaciers in Svalbard. Some of the mightiest and most well known include Monacobreen, Lilliehöökbreen and Bråsvellbreen. Austfonna on Nordaustlandet in the northeast part of the archipelago is an ice cap that is one of the largest in the World. Its ice front reaching into the sea is more than 130 kilometres long.

Anyone who is interested in geology will find Svalbard very exciting. The archipelago was formed on the northeast coast of Greenland a long, long time ago, and has since moved via continental drift to the other side of the equator where it turned and headed north. Just wait another 50 million years, and Svalbard will probably be at the North Pole!

Svalbard is not exactly a hothouse, the fact is that plants can only live on some 7% of the land area. There are approximately 164 species of native plants growing on Svalbard, plus at least 6-7 species that were introduced by man.

Seasons in Svalbard

During the winter, the Svalbard archipelago is covered in ice and snow. The midnight sun shines brightly between mid-April until the end of August. The average temperature in July is +6°C. Simply put, you can divide the year in Svalbard into two parts: The dark and the light season. In mid-February the first rays of the sun appear over the mountain peaks, and the midnight sun period in Longyearbyen is between 20 April and 22 August. The daylight completely disappears again in early November. The number of snowmobiles parked everywhere in Longyearbyen testify that the bare ground of the summer is only a brief interruption in an otherwise long winter landscape.

May and the beginning of June are characterised by a lot of snow and a wonderful purity. It is still spring in the Arctic. This year’s polar bear cubs are still small and sometimes can both bears and seals be seen on the fjord ice in front of the glaciers.

Summer arrives in late June. The ice thaws around the islands and this makes it possible to get further east. Whales are more frequently seen in the waters and more and more snow-free areas become accessible for longer walks. Colourful flowers are in bloom.

Autumn arrives in late August and it is now that the snow free landscape is most visible. The tundra is shifting in autumn colours and the midnight sun is getting closer and closer to the horizon, which offers wonderful red and pink skies at sunset, as well as a warm and soft light, perfect for anyone interested in photography. From mid-August you may be able to see the Ivory Gulls’ chicks, while some birds are preparing to migrate. Harp seals can be seen and female walruses with cubs are not an uncommon sight.

AECO – Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators – was founded in 2003 and has since become an important organization representing the concerns and views of arctic expedition cruise operators. AECO is dedicated to managing responsible, environmentally friendly and safe tourism in the Arctic and strive to set the highest possible operating standards.

The association’s   geographical range is considered to encompass the Arctic area north of 60 degrees north latitude. The core areas are Svalbard, Jan Mayen, Greenland, Arctic Canada and the national park “Russian Arctic”.

Read more:  www.aeco.no

Our ships in Svalbard (Spitsbergen)

A small and comfortable expedition ship with excellent service and a relaxed atmosphere. From the panorama lounge and the spacious observation decks you can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. All cabins have windows and private facilities.

M/S Sjøveien

M/S Sjøveien (meaning the Seaway) was built in Bergen in 1964 for the Norwegian Government and she worked for them in various capacities. She is a true beauty with wooden decks and vintage details. There is a spacious outer deck from where you can enjoy the beautiful vistas.

M/S Stockholm

The M/S Stockholm is a classic vessel built in 1953 for the Swedish National Maritime Administration. She is a marvellous piece of maritime history with beautiful brass details and pine decks. With a maximum of only 12 passengers on board, this is like travelling on a private yacht.

Adrian Nordenborg

Adrian has spent most of his life adventuring in over 100 countries around the world. As expedition leader and guide, he has done almost everything – from leading treasure hunting in Morocco and skiing in Iran to walks in Turkey to kayaking outside Manhattan. Adrian has a great love for nature and wildlife.

Christian Engelke

Christian was born in Germany, but ever since his first vacation in Norway he has suffered severely from a “Scandinavia fever”. He has curiously explored the mountain and coastal regions of Norway, Sweden and Greenland. Since 2009 he works as a fulltime guide in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Elke Lindner

Always fascinated by cold and snow, Elke soon discovered the Polar Regions. This German scientist has spent extended periods of time in Svalbard and shorter periods of time in Greenland and in Antarctica as a student, field biologist and naturalist, working on various expedition-cruise ships.

Hannah Lawson

Hannah studied Zoology at the University of Liverpool and gained a Masters in Natural History Illustration from the Royal College of Art, London. After studying the parasites of mountain gorillas, she changed direction and worked as an artist and mural painter at Chester Zoo and in East Africa.

Malenthe Teunis

Malenthe has always had a fascination for the polar areas, thus when the University of Groningen offered classes about the Arctic she quickly signed up. Since then her love for the Arctic has only grown. She is a Master student in Marine Biology with a focus on the Arctic regions and new technologies.

Manda Lundström

In December 2015 Manda joined her first expedition as a team member off the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. She loves to travel and has spent several years abroad both working and studying. One of her biggest passions is marine mammals, which led her to Iceland to study marine biology.

Martin Berg

Martin’s passionate interest in birds and mammals has brought him all over the globe. He has always been drawn to adventures and has participated in several expeditions, for example to the Amazon rainforest, Caucasus and the Himalayas to study rare and endangered bird species.

Mia Lundqvist

In 2010 Mia started working at PolarQuest and she now works as Staff Manager, putting the guide teams on the ships together. The same year she visited Svalbard for the first time, and as for most visitors, it was love at first sight. Today she is splitting her time between the PolarQuest office, the Arctic and the Antarctic.

Nikita Ovsyanikov

Nikita has spent much longer time in the Arctic and around polar bears than most people on the planet. He is the Deputy Director for science and senior research scientist of Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve. On Wrangel Island, Nikita has in particular studied the polar bear population for decades.

Thérèse Horntrich

Thérèse is Swiss and grew up close to the Alps. She has a master degree in media and communication but her life changed direction when she visited Svalbard for the first time in 2010. Already the next summer she returned to Svalbard and worked as a trekking guide. In 2012 she left Switzerland and moved to Longyearbyen.

Zet Freiburghaus

Zet is a former successful member of the Swedish national kayak team who after his active career gained a Master's degree in Molecular Biology. He has also travelled around the world. His sharp eyes and great experience in nature implies he rarely misses an animal.

Åsa Lindgren

Normally Åsa's work consists of planning and conducting research expeditions to the Polar Regions; Antarctica, Svalbard and the Canadian and Russian Arctic. She previously worked for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, with projects focusing on ecotourism.

Gunilla Lindh

Nilla started her career as a guide as her love for the white, remote and pristine places of the polar regions became too strong to materialise into anything but a lifelong passionate career as a polar guide. When not guiding expeditions, she is fond of skiing and photographing wildlife.

Beau Pruneau

Growing up in a log house in the Canadian wilderness in Northern Ontario, Beau understood at an early age to appreciate the great outdoors while learning wilderness skills such as survival, navigation, tracking, and firearms marksmanship. He is happiest out on deck searching for polar bears.

Johan Carlsson Tjernström

To become a Polar guide and walk in both his father's and grandfather's footsteps was an easy choice for Johan. On a trip with PolarQuest onboard M/S Stockholm he truly fell in love with the arctic wilderness of Svalbard.

Margherita Lucadello

Margherita fell in love with the Arctic while living at the Czech Research Station "Petuniabukta" in Svalbard for two months. She has also been living in Tromsø in Northern Norway and in the Maldives. Margherita has a master's degree in Marine Biology.

Future departures to Svalbard (Spitsbergen)

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Svalbard Tours & Trips 2024/2025

Find the right tour package for you through Svalbard. We've got 68 trips going to Svalbard, starting from just 6 days in length, and the longest tour is 25 days. The most popular month to go is June, which has the most tour departures.

68 Svalbard tour packages

Spitsbergen Explorer: Wildlife Capital of the Arctic (2024), Operated by Quark Tour

  • Ocean Cruise

Spitsbergen Explorer: Wildlife Capital of the Arctic (2024), Operated by Quark

Introduction to Spitsbergen, Operated by Quark Tour

  • Active Adventure

Introduction to Spitsbergen, Operated by Quark

In polar bear country Tour

In polar bear country

West Svalbard and the Polar Ice Edge Tour

West Svalbard and the Polar Ice Edge

Spring Awakening in Spitsbergen Tour

Spring Awakening in Spitsbergen

Natural Wonders of Svalbard Photography Expedition Micro Cruise - 12 Guests Only Tour

  • Photography

Natural Wonders of Svalbard Photography Expedition Micro Cruise - 12 Guests Only

Svalbard Explorer Photography Expedition Micro Cruise with Paul Goldstein - 12 Guests Only Tour

Svalbard Explorer Photography Expedition Micro Cruise with Paul Goldstein - 12 Guests Only

West Svalbard Tour

West Svalbard

Glaciers & Wildlife of Svalbard Tour

Glaciers & Wildlife of Svalbard

Beyond the Arctic Circle: Svalbard, Greenland & Iceland Tour

Beyond the Arctic Circle: Svalbard, Greenland & Iceland

Svalbard Through the Camera Lens Tour

Svalbard Through the Camera Lens

Spitsbergen Highlights: Expedition in Brief, Operated by Quark Tour

Spitsbergen Highlights: Expedition in Brief, Operated by Quark

Spitsbergen Photography: In Search of Polar Bears, Operated by Quark Tour

Spitsbergen Photography: In Search of Polar Bears, Operated by Quark

Frozen Svalbard Photography Expedition Micro Cruise with Chase & Jenni Teron - 12 Guests Only Tour

Frozen Svalbard Photography Expedition Micro Cruise with Chase & Jenni Teron - 12 Guests Only

10 Days Natural Wonders Of Svalbard Expedition Micro Cruise on MV Vikingfjord - 12 Guests Only Tour

10 Days Natural Wonders Of Svalbard Expedition Micro Cruise on MV Vikingfjord - 12 Guests Only

Svalbard tours starting in:.

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International Versions

  • Deutsch: Spitzbergen Rundreisen 2024/2025
  • Français: Circuits en Svalbard 2024/2025
  • Español: Circuitos por Svalbard 2024/2025
  • Nederlands: Svalbard Rondreizen 2024/2025
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tour to svalbard

Svalbard Cruises

We are covering the cost of your international flights to Svalbard, across selected departures in 2024.

Reasons to explore Svalbard with us

Sprawling glaciers, jagged mountain formations and scenic fjords – Svalbard showcases Arctic beauty in all its rugged, pristine splendour. As Svalbard travel experts, we’ll show you the must-see highlights but also the lesser-known gems. Find out about our itineraries, activities and offers.

Get Free Flights to Svalbard!

Explore Svalbard on our small, well-equipped, hybrid expedition ships, where safety and sustainability come first. Sail in style and comfort so you’re relaxed, rested, and ready for adventure.

Across selected sailings, we will cover the cost of your flights to Svalbard!

Activities on Svalbard

Your cruise to Svalbard comes with included and optional activities to help you make the most out of your adventure in the archipelago.

Our Expedition Team will guide you through the in-depth history and science of what makes Svalbard such a fascinating place.   

Wildlife on Svalbard

Sailing on an expedition cruise in summer increases your chances of possibly spotting polar bears along the shores or across the ice.

Spectacular landscapes

Explore jagged mountains, labyrinthine fjords, national parks, total wilderness and calving glaciers.

Cruises to Svalbard

Arctic Islands Discovery | Iceland, Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen: Eastbound

Arctic Islands Discovery | Iceland, Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen: Eastbound

Departure date

Price from $6,943

Island Hopping In & Around the Arctic | Faroe Islands, Iceland, Spitsbergen: Northbound

Island Hopping In & Around the Arctic | Faroe Islands, Iceland, Spitsbergen: Northbound

Price from $11,511

MS Spitsbergen

Circumnavigating Spitsbergen | In the Realm of the Polar Bear | 2024

Circumnavigating Spitsbergen | In the Realm of the Polar Bear | 2024

Departure Dates

Jun 6, 24, Jun 13, 24 + 7 more departures

Price from $10,602

MS Fram MS Spitsbergen

Guest enjoying the view from the stern of MS Maud. Photo: Tom Woodstock/Ultrasharp

Up to $4,000 off per cabin*

Plus a reduced deposit across selected departures on us.

Immersive activities

On a trip to Svalbard feel completely at one with nature as you hike in the Arctic tundra, kayak through deep fjords or collect samples for global Citizen Science projects.

Activities in Svalbard

Svalbard is one of Europe’s last great wildernesses, beckoning intrepid explorers for centuries. Your expedition cruise comes with included and optional activities to help you make the most out of your adventure in the archipelago. Here are several ways you can immerse yourself in Svalbard’s natural splendour.

tour to svalbard

Explore Torshavn (Walking Tour)

Explore the history and heritage of the Faroe Islands’ capital.

tour to svalbard

Dogsledding on wheels

Jump in the wheeled sledge pulled by huskies for an extraordinary adventure in the spectacular landscape of Svalbard.

tour to svalbard

Hike in a glacier landscape

Join a stunning hiking adventure from the top of Longyearbyen through a glacial moraine.

* Please note that these are optional activities; an additional cost may apply.

Majestic wildlife

See iconic Arctic wildlife in their natural habitat.

Svalbard wildlife

Svalbard is a unique habitat for birdlife and mammals, including Arctic foxes, Svalbard reindeer, whales, and polar bears at the top of the food chain. Our Expedition Team will guide you on how you can safely observe the wildlife you might encounter with the least amount of impact on their fragile ecosystem.

Hardscrabble history

Follow the trail of Arctic pioneers from the Age of Discovery to the 20th century mining rush.

Expedition Team Svalbard

Featuring guest lecturers and scientists, your Expedition Team will enhance your knowledge with specialist lectures as part of your Svalbard expedition. Topics may include Svalbard’s flora and fauna, climate, cultural artefacts, geology and exploration history. Informal talks and impromptu guiding may also take place out on deck or ashore.

Expedition Ships

Our expedition ships are your stylish and comfortable havens at sea, bringing you safely on authentic adventures. These are the expedition ships taking you to and around Svalbard.

MS-Fram-Antarctica-HGR-106890-Photo_Photo_Competition.JPG

Purpose-built as an expedition cruise ship, MS Fram is an exceptional base camp for explorers.On board, comfort is a top priority, so after a day of exploration you can relax in a hot tub ,dine in your choice of two restaurants or at the outdoor BBQ and catch up with your fellow guests with a cocktail in hand as you watch the scenery glide past in the Explorer Lounge & Bar. In the Science Centre, at the heart of the ship, you’ll discover more about the places you sail to and listen to talks by the Expedition Team.  With key expedition features and technology, MS Fram is primed to bring you on a journey of discovery to our planet’s most alluring and unspoiled regions. 

Kangerlussuaq-Greenland-HGR-116925-Photo_Karsten_Bidstrup.jpg

MS Spitsbergen is named after the crown jewel of Arctic Norway – the Svalbard archipelago and its biggest island, Spitsbergen. Hurtigruten has a long history of travelling to Spitsbergen, beginning in 1896 with the 'Sports Route'.

Helping nature and communities

Help us give back by supporting local businesses and join beach cleans and environmental research projects.

Stories from Svalbard Expedition Cruises

Lone polar bear in Spitsbergen, Svalbard

Travel Guide to Svalbard

The population of Svalbard is approximately 2500. Longyearbyen is the largest settlement in the islands and is also the seat of the governor. It's a colourful modern town with first-class facilities, like excellent hotels and restaurants, regular flight connections to mainland Norway, as well as an impressive range of activities to suit every traveller.

Polar bear walking across the ice in Svalbard. Photo: Shutterstock

Wildlife in Svalbard

Svalbard’s vast landscapes of rock, ice and sea provide a home for a remarkably diverse batch of inspiring creatures.

La Neu De, Svalbard

Svalbard: Inspiration

How to get to Svalbard and what to do there.

Dog sledding at night. Photo: Ragnar Hartvig

Plan your Svalbard holiday: things to see and do

If you decide to make a trip to Svalbard and Spitsbergen part of your Norway trip, keep these interesting possibilities of the location in mind.

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The Norway Guide

How To Travel To Svalbard (2022 Guide With Multiple Options)

There’s no place just like Svalbard, and this arctic island is a part of Norway. Despite this, Svalbard is located almost 1,000 km north of Norway, so getting to Svalbard from Norway is actually a bit of a challenge. So, what are the best options for traveling to Svalbard?

The by far best option of getting to Svalbard is to fly from either Oslo or Tromsø to the airport on Svalbard (Longyear Airport). Flight time is between 1.5 and 3 hours from Norway, and takes you very close to Longyearbyen, the main city on Svalbard.

Homes on Svalbard

So if you dream of seeing polar bears and arctic mountains, getting on a plane from Norway to Svalbard might be just what you need to make this dream come true! However, there are other options, although they are much more expensive and take much longer.

So, let’s take a deep dive into how to get to Svalbard by plane and other means!

Pyramiden at Svalbard

Table of Contents

Getting to Svalbard by plane from Oslo or Tromsø

99 % of all travelers who travel to Svalbard arrive by plane from either Oslo or Tromsø. Most days have several planes that travel between Svalbard Airport Longyear and these two airports.

This means that for most travelers, flying from your home airport to Oslo, then changing to a plane headed to Svalbard is the best option.

Airlines that operate the flights between Tromsø or Oslo and Svalbard are SAS, Enter Air, Transavia, and Titan Airways. You will usually find at least one daily flight to Svalbard, but some days have multiple departures.

Total travel time from Oslo Airport Gardermoen to Svalbard is 3 hours. The flight time from Tromsø is shorter with just 1 hour and 35 minutes in the air.

Svalbard airport

When arriving at Svalbard Airport Longyear, getting to Longyearbyen is about a 15 minute drive. Most people opt to use the Airport Express Bus for 100 NOK each to get to the city. There are also taxis available, which could save you some money if you are a party of three or four people.

If you want a more luxurious option, consider booking a private airport transfer to have a car waiting for you:

Read more : How to get from Svalbard Airport Longyear to Longyearbyen city .

The price for a plane ticket to Svalbard

Flights to and from Svalbard are not that expensive really, and you can get lucky and find tickets that are around 1,000 Norwegian kroner (about $100) each way.

However, it’s most common for the flight tickets to be in the 1,500 NOK to 3,000 NOK price range. This means that a ticket and a return ticket could cost as much as 6,000 NOK ($600) in total for each person . This adds up if you are a whole family of 4 or 5 traveling to Svalbard, so it might be worth trying to get your hands on one of the cheaper tickets.

PS. keep in mind that Svalbard is considered to be very expensive to visit as a tourist!

I always use Google Flights to find the cheapest tickets, but there are many other plane ticket aggregators that works just as good.

Longyearbyen on Svalbard

Riding a ship or ferry to Svalbard

It’s possible to get to Svalbard by ship or ferry, but there are no regular ferry service between mainland Norway and Svalbard . Your only option of getting to Svalbard by ferry is to book a multi-day cruise from other parts of the world.

There are cruise ships that operate between mainland Norway and Svalbard , but be aware that we are talking about a 4 – 7 day cruise in the arctic before arriving at Svalbard! Expect to pay premium (around 50,000 NOK) for such a cruise.

These cruises only operates in the summer, and tend to be fully booked many months in advance. They tend to start at Tromsø, so you will need to fly to Tromsø to begin the cruise.

Hurtigruten does offer a Svalbard cruise this summer, but you will need to fly to Longyearbyen to actually start the cruise.

Hurtigruten MV Spitsbergen

While a cruise to Svalbard might be ten tines as expensive, take much longer and be much more inconvenient, it might still be a great option for some people. Not only do you get a few days of complete cruise luxury, but you also get to the some incredible nature along the Norwegian coast!

So if you find that journey is more important than the destination, consider if you should travel to Svalbard by cruise next time.

Getting to Svalbard by private boat

You can in theory just drive your boat to Svalbard to visit the island, but this boat ride is considered difficult and dangerous for smaller boats. However, there are some sailboats that tend to stop by Svalbard every once in a while.

I don’t have much experience with sailing from Norway to Svalbard, so I’m not going to comment further on this, but please only attempt this route if you are knowledgeable enough about it.

Flying to Svalbard directly from France

There are a few flights from France to Svalbard for some reason, which is the only country besides Norway that fly to Svalbard directly. These lines tend to be during the summer only, and I have yet to find a winter flight between France and Svalbard.

ASL Airlines and EFT Airways operate the fights between France and Svalbard. There are flights from both Paris and Nice to Svalbard , but they are usually only once weekly, and cost more than flying from Oslo or Tromsø.

However, if you’re already in Paris and want to get to Svalbard, this might be a decent option if you don’t want to have a layover in Oslo.

A glacier on Spitsbergen

Anyone can visit Svalbard without a visa (in theory)

Most countries outside of EU and EEA requires a visa if you want to enter Norway, but Svalbard es exempt from this visa rule. Anyone can enter the island without a visa, but the problem is that you will need a visa if you want to go to Svalbard via a flight from Oslo or Tromsø.

In reality, this means that most people who want to visit Svalbard will need to get a visa for Norway before arriving at the island . Remember to make sure that the visa is good for two entries to Norway, since you will need another entry when you get back to Oslo or Tromsø from Svalbard.

In addition, remember to bring your airport when traveling to Svalbard. You are required to have this on you when entering the island unless you have another type of documentation that is accepted by the Norwegian government (which is pretty much only Norwegian National ID cards and Norwegian driver’s licenses).

PS. only people from outside of EU or EEA need a visa to enter Norway. So all you EU citizens can freely travel to Svalbard trough Norway.

Longyearbyen

This article includes affiliate links for Viator. This allows you to book your tours on Viator, while giving The Norway Guide a small commission. It will not affect the price you pay for the tours.

The Norway Guide's owner Nicklas Iversen.

Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.

He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.

His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.

2 thoughts on “How To Travel To Svalbard (2022 Guide With Multiple Options)”

Great information – thanks

Looking at getting to Svalbard from Ireland. I try to go overland/sea as much as possble so my plan would be to get to Tromsø by boat/train/bus etc. and fly from there. I have plenty of time 🙂

That sounds like an incredible journey!

Best regards Nicklas

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It's Time To Explore Places That No One Has Been To

This is the time for a once in a lifetime journey

Welcome to land of  fjords, mountains, and northern lights.

tour to svalbard

Why to choose us

Locals in Svalbard

10 years of experience in tourism

Over 100 customers

who traveled with us

Recommended on Tripadvisor

You haven't really experienced life, until the moment you are out on a dog sled,

 under the northern lights, surrounded by fjords and colors you didn't know before!

tour to svalbard

Longyearbyen

A trip to the capital of Svalbard

tour to svalbard

Barentsburg

See the fjords up close

tour to svalbard

Where coal mines meet the sky

tour to svalbard

Ny-Ålesund

Enjoy a trip in a dog sled

tour to svalbard

Snowmobiling in one of the world’s craziest landscapes

tour to svalbard

Forlandet nasjonalpark

Journey to the most beautiful national park

Svalbard Experts is a travel company that specializes in creating unforgettable trips to Svalbard, an archipelago located in the Arctic Ocean with a focus on providing unique and immersive experiences.

Svalbard Experts has become one of the leading travel agencies in the region, and provides services mainly to families and couples.

Our tours are designed to give travelers a taste of Svalbard's rugged beauty, while providing them with the comfort they need to enjoy their journey. Whether you are interested in exploring the islands' glaciers, watching the region's unique wildlife, or learning about the history and culture of the local communities, we have a tour package that will suit you.

With a commitment to sustainable tourism, from using electric snowmobiles to providing eco-friendly accommodation, we are committed to protecting the natural beauty of Svalbard for generations to come.

Our team of experienced guides are passionate about sharing their knowledge of the area with guests, and are committed to providing you with a safe and enjoyable travel experience. 

With a focus on personalized service and attention to last detail, we guarantee that every traveler will feel taken care of all the way.

Would you like to explore one of the most remote and amazing destinations in the world and have an unforgettable experience?

tour to svalbard

Our Attractions

a cave filled with ice and snow with icicles hanging from the ceiling .

Ice Caving Tours

 Let us take you on a journey inside the Svalbard glaciers. In this amazing world of ice, you will step in a special place and unite with nature.

a boat is floating on top of a body of water with mountains in the background .

We are offering different boat tours to explore the wild animals, and breathtaking views. 

a man is riding a snowmobile under the aurora borealis

Snowmobiling Tours

We are offering different snowmobile tours through the breathtaking Svalbard landscapes. 

a person wearing a blue jacket and a black helmet

There is no better way to appreciate the Arctic landscape than with an ATV. You will enjoy the beautiful scenery while taken care of by our experienced guides.

a group of people are walking through the snow in the mountains .

Hiking Tours

If you are into hiking, we offer different hiking tours to different locations in Svalbard all year round. If you want to walk to the seed vault, or to an ice cave,

we can make it happen.

a group of people are standing in a boat in the water .

Northern Lights Tours

We offer different types of northern lights tours. If you prefer to hunt them by a snokat, snowmobile, or an isolated camp, we will maximize your chances to see these magical lights during your trip.

a man is pulling a sled with dogs in the snow .

Dog Sledding Tours

Try one of our funnest activities in Svalbard, where you'll find amazing views and excitement.

If you are a dog lover, or just want to explore the wilderness, this tour is for you. 

tour to svalbard

Photography Tours

Do you have a passion for photography? If this is the case, you should join us for some of our exciting Photography tours. We are offering those all year round, so if you are into northern lights photos or exploring the wilderness.

tour to svalbard

Svalbard's Summer Symphony of Arctic Adventures

tour to svalbard

Unveiling the Arctic Charms: A Look into Accommodations in Svalbard

tour to svalbard

Witnessing the Enchanting Northern Lights in Svalbard

tour to svalbard

Exploring the Enchanting Wilderness: Must-Visit Attractions in Svalbard

tour to svalbard

Exploring Longyearbyen: The Enchanting Arctic Frontier

tour to svalbard

How to Find a Travel Agency in Svalbard

tour to svalbard

Booking a Private Guide in Svalbard

tour to svalbard

A Guide to Booking Attractions in Svalbard

Join the community, #svalbardexperts.

tour to svalbard

Our Happy Customers

Common questions, we’ve added answers to common questions you might have, how do you get to svalbard.

At the moment there are currently only flights to Svalbard from Norway, so getting to Svalbard requires to go to Oslo before flying to Longyearbyen. There is usually one flight to Svalbard per day

What do we offer?

Planning the trip by days - Personalised itinerary

Booking of all hotels in Svalbard

Booking OF ferries within Svalbard from Longyearbyen to Pyrmayden, Brentsburg and Ny Ålesund. 

Booking of all attractions and activites in Svalbard 

Recommendations for restaurants and bars in Svalbard

Recommendations  for the right clothing in Svalbard

What is the recommended travel time in Svalbard?

In our opinion, The ideal duration for a trip to Svalbard is at least six days, in which you can see most of the island and try most of the attractions that Svalbard offers. It is possible to extend or shorten the trip by several days and adjust the trip for your personal needs

What time of the year can you visit Svalbard?

You can visit Svalbard all year round. There is a fundamental difference between the type of trip in the summer season and the winter season. A trip during the summer offers the possibily of taking ferry  a ferry ride to all parts of the island, trekking, and of course daylight during the whole day. A trip in the winter time offers viewing of the northern lights, winter activities such as snowmobiling and dog sledding, and in addition lower costs

Why do you need our help in planning your trip to Svalbard?

Planning a trip to Svalbard requires knowing the place well, taking into account the weather conditions,In order to maximise the time availbale. That's exactly why we are here, with people who are experts in this area, and can offer their help in planning a trip to Svalbard

How far in advance to book the trip to Svalbard?

As accommodation is usually completely full in Svalbard during the summer season, we would recommend booking the trip as soon as possible, and at least six months before arrival to secure your place on the island for the upcoming season

When is the most likely to see the northern lights?

The best time to see the Northern Lights is during the winter season, usually between the beginning of October and the end of February. Since it is dark in Svalbard almost all day in winter, the chance of seeing the northern lights is one of the highest in the world

What is the difference between the private tour package and our regular tour package?

On a private trip you will have a local guide with you throughout your time in Svalbard. They will travel with you to all the locations, so that you will have someone local with you for the entire trip, who will be able to add value to the experience in Svalbard. For an offer for a private trip, please send us an email to: [email protected]

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Svalbard Cruises

ALL ABOUT SVALBARD

Poseidon Expeditions - your polar cruise operator

At Poseidon Expeditions, we offer various breathtaking polar cruises for every taste. However, Svalbard, with its gorgeous views and wildlife, is one of the most spectacular locations to visit.

Discover Breathtaking Svalbard Cruises

If you are eager to discover the beauty of polar terrain this year or have a vacation planned for 2023, we offer numerous Svalbard tours to choose from, such as Spitsbergen, Greenland, Polar Ice Edge, and more.

Spitsbergen is the largest and most beautiful island of the Svalbard archipelago, which consists of two smaller islands, Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya. Mostly, the cruises depart from the administrative center of this area named Longyearbyen.

There are many attractions for travelers when choosing a Svalbard cruise. Dive into the world of icy landscapes, arctic climate, and raw nature. Take a chance to see polar ice caps, wild animals, and northern lights in person. All of it is available with any of our Svalbard tours.

As for activities, each voyage becomes truly memorable due to an inspiring photography experience, exciting sea kayaking adventure, and breathtaking views during a challenging hiking trip.

What Can You See in Svalbard?

Svalbard has a lot of sightseeing to offer travelers. As a former no man’s land, it is a gorgeous northern terrain with rich wildlife and breathtaking views. It is easy to meet polar bears and walruses when you go on a Svalbard expedition cruise.

However, Svalbard archipelago islands are not only famous for wild animals. The following locations are well-known landmarks of the islands and, without a doubt, worth attention during a trip.

Why travel with Poseidon Expeditions?

M/V Sea Spirit – Tiny but Mighty

M/V Sea Spirit – Tiny but Mighty

With a maximum capacity of just 114 passengers, we usually operate with 100 guests off the ship. It maximizes our travelers' time ashore because there is no need for splitting passengers into groups for landing rotations as required on larger ships.

A real polar expedition

A real polar expedition

Experience active exploration of the polar regions through a variety of activities. Weather permitting, we schedule up to 3 excursions per day and offer optional kayaking and, in Antarctica, camping. Enrich your polar knowledge in an engaging and interactive way through Poseidon’s edutainment program.

24 years of polar cruising

24 years of polar cruising

Polar cruising is our passion and expertise and over the past 24 years, we’ve gained tremendous experience building a strong team of enthusiastic polar professionals who are all experts in their field. Each cruise is a thoughtfully crafted expedition voyage.

Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen

An administrative center located on Spitsbergen island, this northernmost town forms the heart of the Svalbard archipelago. Mostly, expeditions to Svalbard that take travelers to explore the Arctic depart from here.

The place is a lively center offering various entertainment options, such as museums, galleries, pubs, sports-recreation facilities, etc. Take an excursion to the North Pole Museum to learn exciting facts about the Arctic.

Smeerenburg

Smeerenburg

The Longyearbyen cruise can take you to Smeerenburg, a former whaling station with a rich history. Get a glimpse of massive blubber remains carefully preserved since the 17th century. Take a boat trip to feel the spirit of the past and enjoy the beautiful views, including fjords, glaciers, and mountains.

Glaciers

The expedition ship will take you to the most remarkable glaciers of Svalbard, Monaco Glacier, and 14th of July Glacier.

Monaco Glacier, located in Liefdefjorden and named after its discoverer, Prince Alber I of Monaco, is famous for the large surface and blue tint. The beauties of this 7km wide glacier also include polar bears and other wildlife.

14th of July Glacier, in the extent of 16 km, is located in Haakon VII Land and delivers gorgeous views and unique wildlife, such as arctic terns, barnacle geese, and others.

Those spots are worth adding to the itinerary to get the best of the cruise.

Svalbard Circumnavigation and Kvitøya

US$ 8 921

Sea Kayaking

US$ 8 836

West Svalbard & Polar Ice Edge

US$ 5 132

Svalbard & Polar Ice Edge

US$ 6 237

Svalbard, Greenland & Iceland

US$ 8 581

British Isles, Jan Mayen & Svalbard

US$ 4 482

Photography

About Svalbard

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Geographical Facts

Svalbard is a northern archipelago that forms part of Norway. It is situated in the waters of the Arctic Ocean above the Arctic Circle.

There are nine islands in the archipelago; however, Spitsbergen is the largest one and serves as an important location in polar tours. In most cases, all arctic expeditions in the area depart from Longyearbyen, a developed administrative center.

Historical Background

Svalbard means “cold coast” in translation from Old Norse.

It is believed that it was discovered back in 1194. Although it only became widely known after rediscovering in 1596 by Willem Barents and Jacob van Heemskerck.

From 1611 many European whalers arrived in Svalbard and began to argue over whaling rights. All issues were settled by the decline of whaling only in 1800.

That led to a focus shift from whaling to coal, which also caused quarrels over export rights between European, Russian and American companies. Nowadays, only Norway and Russia are authorized to extract coal on the Svalbard territory.

Northern Landscape

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Over half of the territory is covered with snowfields and glaciers that extend as far as the sea. Besides, there are many fjords on the northwestern coast of Spitsbergen.

Also, the packed ice around Spitsbergen accumulates quickly, which complicates access to the territory.

Abundant wildlife

The raw nature of the Svalbard archipelago is the perfect habitat for iconic wildlife. Most of the territory is inaccessible to people, which gives animals the unique opportunity to flourish. Summer features the beautiful blooming Arctic tundra with arctic foxes and the Svalbard reindeer. This is also the best time for spotting polar bears, walruses, ringed seals and beluga whales. Bird lovers will enjoy the abundance of species, such as the Arctic skua, black-legged kittiwake, common eider, red-throated diver, barnacle goose and the snow bunting. Cruising aboard small expedition ships is the best way to spot wildlife in the most remote areas. On your Svalbard voyage, you’ll have the best chance of experiencing polar bear sightings. The midnight sun will provide plenty of time to explore, observe and take the best photos.

Svalbard expedition enables tourists to exclusively observe different Arctic animals and sea mammals in their natural habitat. Prepare to meet polar bears, blue and white arctic foxes, reindeer, seals, walruses, and whales. Such excursions make dreams come true.

Top Things to See

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A ghost town named Pyramiden grants the mysterious impression of visiting the Soviet Union.

Isfjord is one of the largest and most beautiful fjords in the area, where you can meet polar bears, enjoy glacier views, or join a snowmobile safari.

Barentsburg, the second-largest settlement in Svalbard, is an interesting place to visit for beautiful views, historical sightseeing, and wildlife.

The uninhabited Edge island is the third-largest in Svalbard, where you can meet polar bears, walruses, and other animals and capture the most stunning views.

The Svalbard Museum will help you learn more about the history and culture of the area.

The North Pole Expedition Museum tells the amazing story of airships exploring the north.

Svalbard snowmobile safari, ice cave visiting, dog-sledding with a husky, and many other activities and places are available.

Plan Your Svalbard Tour

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How to Get to Svalbard

Poseidon Expeditions offers Svalbard cruise packages and will help you get to the location where your Svalbard cruise begins. Cruises to Svalbard (Norway) in 2023/24 depart from Longyearbyen. However, we can easily arrange your transfer to Spitsbergen cruises from any location at a low cost.

For an unforgettable cruise to Svalbard, we’ll provide you with all the information you need for flights, bookings and accommodations. Onboard information is included – so you’ll be safe and ready for polar travel.

Each Svalbard expedition is always thoroughly supported by our team. On top of onboard entertainment, we help the travelers to learn about the peculiarities of polar vacation and explain precaution measures.

Visa Control

If you plan to visit Svalbard this year or in 2022, you should remember about the visa control. Sometimes trips to Spitsbergen might require a special visa.

Our company will provide you a piece of expert advice on the necessity of getting a visa in your particular case. We will also assist you in applying to the consulate or embassy and preparing the set of needed documents.

Svalbard Ships

We deliver only a high-class fleet for each Svalbard cruise. We rely on our small but advantageous ship:

The deluxe expedition ship  Sea Spirit  is very maneuverable and contains 114 passengers. Comfortable accommodation on board and an additional fleet of Zodiacs make this vessel very attractive.

On our ship, we offer many different onboard entertaining options: restaurants, bars, game lounge, gym, shops, swimming pool, etc. You will never get bored. Besides, due to low passenger groups going ashore during stops is very pleasant.

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Facts About Svalbard

The total area of the land: 61022 km²

Svalbard population as of 2022: 2552 people

Spitsbergen administrative center: Longyearbyen

Currency: Norwegian Krone

What Clothes Should You Take with You to Svalbard?

Remember that for visiting Svalbard, you will need arctic-quality, multi-layer clothes that can be easily changed in case of weather changes.

How Cold Is Svalbard?

Usually, the average temperature is above +6°C in summer and -15°C in winter.

What Money Do I Take and How Much?

The currency in Svalbard is the Norwegian Krone. But the sum can only be calculated depending on your habits and preferences. Some people do not require much money on top of the tour cost. Others consider the vacation cheap and can afford to spend a lot more.

What’s Not Included in the Tour?

The tour covers all necessary services: transfer, accommodation, catering, entertainment, and excursions. However, all your extra expenses are to be covered additionally.

Is Svalbard easy to visit?

While it’s not quite as difficult as visiting the North Pole, Svalbard is remote. It is easy to reach the capital of Longyearbyen by plane and then continue via cruise ship. The best way to visit the most remote places on the archipelago is aboard an expedition ship, and we even offer a cruise circumnavigating Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet!

How long does it take to sail to Svalbard?

It all depends on where your journey begins. We have various cruises starting in Edinburgh and Longyearbyen. From Edinburgh, we sail north through the Norwegian and Greenland Sea. On our 12-day British Isles cruise, we reach Svalbard on day 9, stopping on the Faroe Islands and Jan Mayen en-route.

When is the best time to see polar bears?

The best time and way to sea polar bears is on a summer Svalbard cruise. You get prime views from the deck and during Zodiac cruising, while keeping a safe distance from wildlife.

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is always advised for any trip. So to diminish the risks, we suggest you get it even though it is not obligatory.

request a quote

Polar Bear Tour

A number of our Svalbard cruises afford you the possibility of spotting a polar bear. Experience these living emblems of the Arctic for yourself, check out our wide selection of polar bear tours.

Polar Bear Tour

Region: Arctic

Destinations: Svalbard

Where to see polar bears

Seal’s dread, whale’s bane, ever-wandering one – all of these are names for the sometimes terrifying, often elusive, always majestic polar bear .

But where is the best place to see these amazing apex predators?

Svalbard, otherwise known as Spitsbergen, is among the top locations for spotting polar bears. In fact, polar bears are one of the primary reasons thousands of tourists embark on voyages to the Arctic, especially the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.

Though nobody can guarantee you will spot a polar bear, there are a number of Svalbard cruises devoted almost exclusively to finding and viewing these magnificent animals.

Polar bear tour basics

Though polar bears can be found all over the circumpolar north, our polar bear tours focus on northern Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard island group.

But polar bears can be as dangerous as they are beautiful, so expedition guides armed with powerful rifles supervise all landings. Passengers are cautioned never to approach a polar bear, and sometimes landings are canceled if a polar bear is seen close to (or approaching) the landing site.

This is because polar bears are carnivorous hunters and can be aggressive if they feel threatened. Caution is paramount, as is understanding of our limitations. Nature calls the shots in the polar regions, and most polar bear tours only manage one or two sightings.

tour to svalbard

The lure of the polar bear tour

But if polar bear trips cannot ensure a sighting, why do so many people continue to book tickets? The reason, perhaps, lies in the reputation of the creature itself.

For many people, the polar bear is so linked to the Arctic that it functions virtually as a stand-in for the land itself: indomitable, exotic, deadly if not respected. Also, polar bears have fascinated and frightened humans since our earliest days.

The Saami and Laplanders would not dare speak the creature’s name, giving it a number of nicknames to avoid angering it. Inuit called polar bears “wandering ones,” Kets called them “grandfathers,” and their Latin name, Ursus maritimus , translates to “sea bear.”

In other words, polar bears have meant many different things to many different cultures. Not surprising, then, that polar bear tours continue to pack in the passengers.

tour to svalbard

What powers the polar bear

At the end of the day, however, polar bears are animals just like us – albeit at the top of the Arctic food chain. They sleep (around 20 hours a day), they mate (in the spring, like many animals), and they eat (a lot).

Indeed, eating and finding food are among their main occupations. Many pictures taken on polar bear tours capture them in the act of doing just that. If you’re still wondering where to see polar bears, start by following the food.

Polar bears prefer a diet of seals, though they are far from picky: Reindeer , musk oxen , crustaceans, caribou, walruses , birds, bird eggs, whale carcasses, plants, and even other polar bears will do. When they’re fortunate enough to catch a seal, they consume mainly the calorie-rich blubber and skin, leaving the red meat and its abundant protein to their cubs.

tour to svalbard

Polar bear range and ranges

To find enough food, polar bears spend much of their time roaming great distances. Hunting leads them all over the Arctic, though polar bears are thought to have preferred feeding areas called “home ranges.”

Changing conditions in their home range, however, often compel polar bears to travel hundreds of miles in search of better food choices. These journeys can take some time, as polar bears are not fond of keeping up a fast pace.

Though polar bears can be elusive, their wide-ranging hunts explain why they can be found all over the Arctic. Svalbard polar bear tours, however, offer the highest probability of a sighting due to their careful search of key polar bear ranges.

See the polar bear for yourself

Reading about where to see polar bears is one thing, but seeing one in person is another. And seeing a polar bear in the Arctic rather than a zoo is best of all.

A number of our Svalbard trips give you the possibility of spotting a polar bear. To find out more about how you can experience these living emblems of the Arctic for yourself, check out our wide selection of polar bear tours.

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tour to svalbard

Sep 15, 2022 • 10 min read

Holiday travel in Arctic, Svalbard, Norway. People on the boat. Winter mountain with snow, blue glacier ice with sea in the foreground. Blue sky with white clouds. Snowy hill in ocean. Travel in sea.

Visiting Svalbard is a proper Arctic adventure © Ondrej Prosicky / iStockphoto / Getty Images

Your first visit to Svalbard may seem a bit daunting. Midway between Norway and the North Pole, this remote Norwegian island is a land of extreme climate, glaciers and polar bears. This, combined with Svalbard's unique laws, can make it feel far removed from the rest of the world.

The Svalbard archipelago consists of three islands: Spitsbergen, Edgeøya and Nordaustlandet. Most of the tourist activity takes place on Spitsbergen, centered on the settlement of Longyearbyen . Accommodation is limited to mostly traditional hotels, although a small number of hostel rooms and self-catering apartments are available near Longyearbyen. 

If you feel up for the adventure, here's what you need to know about visiting Svalbard for the first time.

Why you should visit Svalbard

If you’ve ever dreamed of waking up to a view of glaciers glittering in a sun that never sets or dog-sledding under the northern lights, Svalbard is the destination for you. Accessible from mainland Norway, this archipelago retains a real sense of adventure, and its main town, Longyearbyen, is a frontier outpost, poised on the edge of one of the harshest – and most awe-inspiring – wildernesses in the world.

Realistically, this is the farthest north most of us are ever likely to get. If you’re intrigued by the polar north, Svalbard should definitely be on your list. Wrap up and spend as much time as you can out in the wild landscape. Wildlife watching and glacier-spotting cruises or kayak trips are great in the summer or you can go on a hike with the proper safety precautions (remember, this is polar bear country). You can hop on a snowmobile or take a ride on a dog-sled at any time of year.

The wilderness and wildlife are the big lures, but there are some conventional sights to see too. Unfortunately, you can’t visit Svalbard's remarkable Global Seed Vault without special permission, so you’ll have to make do with snapping a picture from afar. The fascinating Svalbard Museum is well worth a couple of hours of your time, with its displays on the life formerly led by whalers, trappers, seal and walrus hunters and miners.

For something a bit different, head to Svalbard Bryggeri , the northernmost brewery in the world. A tour with tastings costs 429 NOK and you can book in advance. If you can’t make it to the brewery, not every bar stocks the local beer, but you will be able to pick up some cans in a grocery store.

A blue iceberg in Nordfjorden, Svalbard

Do I need a visa for Svalbard?

You do not need a visa to travel to Svalbard, though you may need a Norwegian visa to reach the islands. In fact, you do not even need a visa to work here! If you are truly captivated by your trip and wish to move north, it’s legal for anyone of any nationality to immigrate – you just need to acquire employment and housing prior to arriving.

Note that you will most likely be traveling to Svalbard via mainland Norway so you must meet the visa requirements for Norway if you’re passing through.

How do I get to Svalbard?

Both Norwegian Air and SAS fly from Oslo to Longyearbyen, and between the two carriers, you’ll be able to get a flight most days of the week. You can also get a flight from Tromsø – in fact, even if your flight says it is direct from Oslo, it may stop at Tromsø and you’ll have to disembark for passport control.

If you are connecting directly to Svalbard via Oslo airport, you should also be careful to check ahead to see if you need a Schengen visa for Norway as Svalbard is not part of the Schengen area.

Arctic fox in a tundra landscape, Svalbard

The best time to go to Svalbard

Most people visit Svalbard in the summer season (May to September). The snow starts to melt in May, making it easier to get around, and it’s a busier time for tourism, with more flights from Oslo and more cruise ships docking at Longyearbyen.

This is also the best time of year for wildlife watching. Come in June and you’ll have a good chance of spotting walrus, polar bears and even whales on a cruise. You’ll also be experiencing this under 24 hours of daylight until the end of August when the sun begins to set again. Overall, it’s an easier experience to visit during the warmer months.

That being said, Svalbard was made for adventurous travel. Some are drawn to Svalbard by the endless polar nights. The sun disappears entirely from the end of October to February but that doesn’t mean that Svalbard comes to a standstill – you can still enjoy activities such as snowmobiling and dog sledding, and there's a good chance of spotting the northern lights. Just be sure to pack for the conditions – winter temperatures can drop as low as −20°C (−4°F).

Is it easy to get around Svalbard?

Public transport is almost non-existent in Svalbard, with the exception of the shuttle bus to Longyearbyen from the airport. The journey takes just minutes, and the bus is timed to coincide with all arrivals and departures and will drop you straight to your accommodation. A return ticket costs 170NOK.

Most visitors explore the area outside Longyearbyen on guided excursions, which often include transfers to and from your accommodation. For the most part, if you leave Longyearbyen, you’ll probably be with a tour guide, using their transport and following their safety precautions.

Arctic Autorent is the biggest car rental company in Svalbard and has an office at the airport. You can book ahead online , and prices start from 1090 NOK a day. However, you should note that roads are limited once you leave Longyearbyen; you will not be able to get to other settlements like Barentsburg or Ny-Ålesund by car. There are also two taxi services in Longyearbyen; call ahead and book if you want to get a lift somewhere.

The most common form of transport you’ll see in Svalbard is the snowmobile; one (or two!) of these vehicles are parked outside practically every home in Longyearbyen. Plenty of tour operators can arrange a rented snowmobile if you’d like to drive one yourself (electric models are often available). Guided tours can take you to ice caves, fjords and the active mining settlement of Barentsburg to see the industry that shaped Svalbard. There are also northern lights tours in winter.

Don’t let the Arctic weather stop you from exploring Longyearbyen on foot – the locals don’t! Getting hold of some crampons for your shoes will make this an easier endeavor.

Polar Bear walks across sea ice at entrance to Woodfjorden as midnight sun lights up distant mountains

Safety precautions when leaving Longyearbyen

As you approach the town limits of Longyearbyen, you’ll notice striking road signs with a polar bear on them. Go past these signs and you’ll be required to take safety precautions in case you encounter a polar bear.

At the very minimum, you should have equipment that will scare off polar bears, such as a flare gun with multiple flares. However, a rifle – and the necessary firearms safety experience – is safer still. If you’re leaving on a guided excursion, you won’t need to worry about safety protocols as your guide will have all the necessary equipment.

It’s always wise to have a professional guide with you whenever you leave the town limits. If you are planning to travel independently, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the extensive safety precautions and regulations from the Governor’s office far in advance.

Ensure that you bring or rent all the necessary equipment, including an emergency beacon, map and compass – and that you have the skills to use them. You also need to alert the Governor's office of your trip beforehand.

Bring your good socks!

Leave your worn, tired socks at home, because in Svalbard, your shoeless feet will be on show…a lot! Svalbard was dominated by coal mining for a long time and workers were required to leave their boots at the door to avoid bringing the black dust inside. Coal mining is dwindling on the islands but the tradition remains; you’ll be required to remove your shoes in your accommodation and in restaurants and bars (though not in shops).

Most accommodation places provide you with slippers, but you might want to bring your own for comfort. At the very least, bring decent, warm socks.

Man hiking in the Spitsbergen Mountains in Svalbard

How to keep well in Svalbard

If you’re coming from somewhere with a more temperate climate, conditions in Svalbard can feel extreme, even in the summer. You might experience some sleep disruption – it can be difficult to wind down in 24-hour daylight, and tough to wake up at the right time due to the constant darkness in winter.

Unless you’re visiting at the very height of summer – when temperatures can reach a balmy 10°C (50°F) – it will likely be very, very cold. A heavy-duty moisturizer and lip balm will help protect your skin from getting too dry. Carry some Vaseline and apply a thin layer just inside your nostrils to protect your sinuses from the sudden change to cold, dry air.

For the summer, a good eye mask is essential and a medicinal supplement such as melatonin may help you drift off to sleep at the right time. Try to maintain a good sleep routine, and use your accommodation’s black-out curtains to relax for a couple of hours before attempting to sleep. If your sleep is disrupted, don't worry – the sun will probably give you enough energy during the day to make it through your activities, even if everything seems difficult when you first get up.

How to protect the landscape in Svalbard while you explore

Although you should be careful when traveling through any natural landscape, even stricter rules apply in Svalbard due to the fragile nature of the High Arctic environment. Don’t disturb the birds or other animals and familiarize yourself with the no-go areas for vehicles and snowmobiles if you are traveling independently. It’s prohibited to actively lure or pursue polar bears, both for their safety and your own. Rabies is also a risk; the disease can be carried by reindeer and Arctic foxes.

If you visit Svalbard in the summer, don’t pick the flowers. And, of course, don’t leave any evidence of your trip behind in the form of litter or other waste.

Houses in Longyearbyen in the snow, Svalbard

What to pack for the Svalbard weather

Here's a packing list to make sure you're prepared for the Svalbard climate.

  • Long wool underwear
  • Wool socks and gloves
  • Fleece layer
  • Outer wind-proof layer 
  • Waterproof boots
  • Comfortable indoor clothes for your hotel
  • A camera with a long lens

There are some extra seasonal items you'll need. For winter, bring a down jacket, crampons for your shoes, a headtorch and a reflective vest. For summer, bring high-factor sunscreen, good-quality sunglasses and an eye mask.

Mother walrus and her cub on the ice in Svalbard

How much money do I need in Svalbard?

As most visitors pack their days with costly excursions, Svalbard isn’t a cheap destination to visit, though you’ll probably pay for many of these activities in advance. However, unless you’re planning on taking a hardcore, multi-day trek across the archipelago, you can experience the highlights in a short trip of 2 to 3 days.

For day-to-day living, Svalbard has the same high costs as other Scandinavian destinations. All food has to be imported, which increases the cost of meals and provisions. However, this is offset slightly by the fact there is no VAT in Svalbard. In fact, if you need to stock up on outdoor gear or clothing, it will probably be cheaper to get it here than in mainland Norway.

Average daily costs in Svalbard:

  • Hostel room – 1000–1900 NOK
  • Basic room for two – 1900–3100 NOK 
  • Self-catering apartment (including Airbnb) - 1500–3000 NOK 
  • Coffee – 40 NOK
  • Dinner for two – from 300 NOK for pizza to 900 NOK for steaks 
  • A pint of beer at the bar – 80 NOK

AnneMarie traveled to Svalbard at the invitation of Volvo Penta. Lonely Planet staff members do not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage.

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Out of Your Comfort Zone

The art of backpacking & adventures to get out of your comfort zone – tips and advice, ultimate guide to visiting svalbard, the arctic (even on a budget).

Last Updated on December 27, 2023 by Talita

How to visit Svalbard, the northernmost place in the world that can actually be visited by tourists. Although a fairly expensive place, we give tips to save on accommodation, flights, transportation, excursions, and food. If you want to visit the Arctic the cheapest way possible, then this is as close as you can get!

Svalbard Norway Longyearbyen Hike Sarkofagen Hiorthfjellet Mountain

Picture a place that’s quite literally as far north as you can go (unless you somehow make it the North Pole) ….

To a place that’s home to….

….more polar bears (& snowmobiles) than people.

….bizarre, semi-abandoned Russian mining towns (featuring the world’s northernmost Lenin Statue).

….glaciers, ice caves, fjords, and pristine Arctic landscapes.

….the famed “ Doomsday Seed Vault .”

If this list hasn’t given you a hint, Svalbard is an incredible (though strange) place to visit.

After our trip there, we can easily say it’s one of the most unique, stunning places we’ve ever visited.

And, though you might not expect it, it’s surprisingly easy to get to! (All it takes is a 3-hour flight from Oslo, the capital of Norway)

Plane aerial view Svalbard

Table of Contents

  • 1    Svalbard Fast Facts
  • 2    How to Plan a Trip to Svalbard / Svalbard Trip Planning
  • 3    Svalbard Accommodation
  • 4    Svalbard Transportation
  • 5    Svalbard food & drink
  • 6    What to do in Svalbard/Svalbard Itineraries
  • 7    How to work or study in Svalbard
  • 8    Final tips for visiting Svalbard
  • 9 Svalbard Attractions, Tours and Activities
  • 10 Planning your next trip?

   Svalbard Fast Facts

Where is Svalbard?

In quick terms, Svalbard is waaaaay the heck up there. It’s farther north than Iceland than the Arctic Circle, and than most of Russia and Greenland.

Map to visit Svalbard Norway Artic Where is Svalbard

In other words, short of visiting the North Pole, you really can’t visit a place farther north. Especially if you want to visit a place where real humans (not just scientists and researchers) live.

In fact, Svalbard is the northernmost human settlement on our planet!

What is Svalbard?

Svalbard is a group of islands technically owned by Norway. Yet, they don’t operate as a traditional territory since people from any nation of the world can come here to live and work visa-free.

The islands are fairly large (23,561 square meters )  but are mostly uninhabited. The biggest city, the capital Longyearbyen, has just over 2,000 people.

Spitsbergen is the biggest island on Svalbard and is likely where you’ll be spending your visit (since the rest of the islands are so hard to get to).

What is Svalbard’s currency?

Since Svalbard is a part of Norway, they use the same Norwegian Krone as the mainland.

Who lives in Svalbard?

Since anyone can live and work in Svalbard visa-free, this isolated island is surprisingly diverse and is a place people from 50+ countries call home. Naturally, there are many Norwegians but there are also large groups of Russian, Ukrainian, Thai, Swedish, and German people.

What language do people in speak in Svalbard?

Officially, Norwegian. But as with the Norwegian mainland, everyone speaks English.

   How to Plan a Trip to Svalbard / Svalbard Trip Planning

2.1) Do I need a visa to visit Svalbard?

Technically, anyone can visit, live, and work in Svalbard visa-free. The problem is that you’ll have to fly through mainland Norway to get there. And since the flight from mainland Norway to Svalbard isn’t considered an international flight , you’ll need to pass through Norwegian immigration control.

This means that, if you need a visa to get to Norway (or the Schengen zone), then you’ll also need one to cross into Svalbard.

Here is a list of countries that need a visa to enter Norway and thus Svalbard.

2.2) When to visit Svalbard?

This depends 100% on what you want to do while in Svalbard and how well you tolerate cold & the darkness.

We personally went at the beginning of June and found it to be a perfect time of year. It was warmish by Svalbard standards (around 30 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius), yet we were lucky and still had some snow.

There was also 24 hours of daylight when we were there, and there weren’t too many tourists since it was still a few weeks before the high season began (meaning it was fairly easy for us to get into the tours we wanted too….and they also weren’t too full).

Svalbard Norway Arctic Midnight Sun

There’s still light even at 2:32 AM during Svalbard’s summer!

Note about going during summer high season: from about mid-June to August, there are now going to be a fair number of cruise ships docking in Svalbard. It might be worth confirming with the Svalbard tourist office what dates cruise ships are docking and then do your best to avoid them

There are pros and cons to visiting each part of the year.

If you’re really hardcore and can handle the cold and 24 hours of darkness, then going in the winter would give you a true Arctic experience. For example, we weren’t able to go snowmobiling because we visited Svalbard too late in the season.

However, we were able to take boat rides and see places where the water is too frozen to get to in the winter.

My recommendation is to check the Svalbard Activity Planner  on the Svalbard Tourism website to get an idea of what activities you can do during each season and then decide based on that.  

What to do in Svalbard activities

2.3)  How long to stay in Svalbard?

We had 4 full days + the entire afternoon of the day our flight arrived. This was just about the right amount of time for us to visit/see/do what we wanted.

If we had stayed longer, we probably would have done an overnight trip that took us farther from Longyearbyen.

2.4) Is Svalbard expensive? Is it possible to visit Svalbard on a budget?

Yes and no.

Unfortunately, no matter what you do, Svalbard will never be a budget destination. Even if you choose the cheapest options for accommodation , transportation , and food (all of which we’ll talk about below), the costs of the excursions are what’s going to get you.

Basically, you’ll have to do an excursion almost every day you’re in Svalbard. This is because you can’t leave the town limits without a rifle due to the polar bear threat.

If you’re comfortable renting using a rifle in case of emergency, then you may be able to venture off a bit on your own (which we did for one day and talk about in day #3 of our 5-day itinerary below).

Svalbard Norway Longyearbyen Hike Sarkofagen Mountain rifle rental

But even if you rent a rifle, you won’t be able to get very far on your own since Svalbard is so big.

In other words, it would be a bit silly for you to come all the way to Svalbard and skip the excursions (and thus miss out on the most incredible parts of the island) because of the cost.

2.5) What about the polar bears?

If there’s one thing people know about Svalbard, it’s the polar bears. And truly, this is something to take seriously.

polar bear risk Svalbard Norway longyearbyen

In town and on an excursion, you’re fine (there are maps that show which areas are safe and if you’re on an excursion, at least one of your guides will have a rifle).

But you don’t have to go very far out of town to be in a polar bear risk zone. In the past, there’s been attacks and deaths of people who left the town and went to these zones without a rifle. So please, do be careful .

I talk more about how to rent a rifle in Svalbard below. 

   Svalbard Accommodation

3.1) Where to stay in Svalbard

Likely, you’ll be staying somewhere in the capital city Longyearbyen. That’s where we stayed, so we’ll talk about options for staying there.

On the off chance you want to spend a night somewhere else, both Barentsburg and Pyramiden have a single hotel. Here is the link to the hotel in Barentsburg , and here is the link to the hotel in Pyramiden .

3.2) The best place to stay in Longyearbyen: our top recommendation

We had the privilege of being invited (by Mary Ann herself!) to stay at Mary Ann’s Polarrigg. And we’d highly recommend it to anyone else coming to Svalbard!

Mary Ann's Polarrigg Svalbard Norway Arctic accommodation

The Polarrigg, which was originally barracks for coal miners, is a place brimming with personality— from its cozy wooden interiors to its quirky arctic decor.

Mary Ann's Polarrigg Svalbard Norway Arctic accommodation

They have a variety of rooms (or even complete, furnished apartments) for you to choose from.

Mary Ann's Polarrigg Svalbard Norway Arctic accommodation

Basic private rooms with shared bathroom

Mary Ann's Polarrigg Svalbard Norway Arctic accommodation

Luxury rooms with private bathroom

Mary Ann's Polarrigg Svalbard Norway Arctic accommodation

Complete, private apartment (where we stayed)

There’s an inviting common area with WiFi (although the WiFi was sometimes a bit too slow to use) in the main rig, and a shared kitchen you can use for a fee. Since we stayed in the apartment and had our own kitchen, we didn’t use this shared one.

Mary Ann's Polarrigg Svalbard Norway Arctic accommodation

They also have a restaurant on-site which serves meals all day (including a buffet-style breakfast). There’s a spa, as well. We didn’t try either of these things personally since we were trying spending most of our budget on excursions….but they both look nice and are highly-reviewed!  

Mary Ann's Polarrigg Svalbard Norway Arctic accommodation

The Polarrigg is about a 5 minutes walk to the town center.

We do have to admit that staying here isn’t the cheapest option. But between the comfy, cabin-y atmosphere of the Polarrigg and the charm and energy of Mary Ann, we know you’ll have a great time if you do!  

Mary Ann's Polarrigg Svalbard Norway Arctic accommodation

3.3) The cheapest place to stay in Longyearbyen, Svalbard

If you’re really on a budget , then it looks like the cheapest place to stay in Svalbard is the campground.

Svalbard camping Longyearbyen camping cheap

They have tents and arctic-grade sleeping bags for you to rent (for an extra fee), hot showers, and a shared indoor kitchen.

The biggest downfall is that it’s actually right next to the airport and thus quite far away from Longyearbyen center (it’s maybe an hour walk or so from the town center).

Luckily, if you take tours or excursions they can pick you up at the campsite. But if you need to buy groceries to use the kitchen or want to explore Longyearbyen, you’ll either have to walk or take the airport shuttle bus (approximately 120 NOK round trip with a schedule that revolves around flight times).

3.4) Other budget options for Svalbard accommodation

   Svalbard Transportation

4.1) How to get to Svalbard

Any flight you take to Svalbard will have a connection on mainland Norway (usually Oslo, but sometimes Tromsø).

If flights from your departure city to Svalbard seem expensive, here’s something you can try: see if it’s cheaper for you first to buy a flight from your departure city to Oslo, and then a separate flight from Oslo to Svalbard.

See our article with 16 tips to find cheap flights before you start searching for your flight to Svalbard.

4.2)  How to get from the Svalbard Airport to Longyearbyen Town Center

You have two options.

#1) Walk from the airport into town (about an hour — it’s just one straight road there so it’s impossible to get lost)

#2) Take the Svalbard airport bus. The bus costs 75 NOK (or 120 NOK roundtrip). The bus runs around the flight schedule, so no need to book in advance. The bus should be there when your flight arrives. You can buy your bus ticket directly on the bus with cash or credit card.

Here’s Svalbard airport bus timetable (this can change, so always check an updated schedule before your trip):

Svalbard Longyearbyen airport bus schedule timetable

The bus stops at most accommodation options in Longyearbyen, so just tell the driver where you need to go. You can see a map of bus stops and read more info here.

4.3) How to get around Svalbard

The city of Longyearbyen is small (2,000 ish people). And since you won’t be walking beyond the city because of the polar bear risk, you can easily walk anywhere you need within the city.

Any excursions you schedule will pick you up from your accommodation directly so there’s no need to arrange transportation to a pickup point.

Renting a car isn’t really worth it because weather conditions aren’t great for much of the year, and there are very few roads (snowmobiles in the winter and boats in the summer are much better ways to get around).

In other words, between walking and transportation provided by excursions, you won’t really have to organize anything else.

   Svalbard food & drink

As expected, eating out in Svalbard is expensive (a little more expensive than eating out in mainland Norway).

So, we can’t actually recommend any good restaurants since we didn’t eat out personally.

If you’re looking to visit Svalbard on a budget, then you’ll likely be buying most of your food at the local grocery store (there’s only one and it’s downtown – you can’t miss it).

supermarket svalbard longyearbyen

We had a kitchen in our apartment at Mary Ann’s Polarrigg, so we likely saved a lot of money by cooking our own food. Many of the accommodation options in Svalbard have kitchens as well, but you’ll want to ask to be sure.

During full-day excursions , your lunch is covered (although you may want to bring snacks).

   What to do in Svalbard/Svalbard Itineraries

What you do in Svalbard will depend on the time of the year you’re going since certain activities are only available during certain parts of the year (ex. snowmobiling in the winter, fjord boat rides in the summer, etc.).

So while we maybe can’t help you with an itinerary that works year-round, we can tell you what we did during our visit in June and the tour companies we went with (all of which we’d highly recommend based on our experience).

On that note…

6.1) Our Svalbard 5-day itinerary (for summer/June)

Day 1: Arrival in Longyearbyen and city/area tour with SvalbardBuss

Our flight landed in Svalbard around noon and, since we had 24 hours of daylight, we wanted to get the most from our first day.

So, we booked a city & area tour with SvalbardBuss.

As you’ll probably know if you’ve read other articles on our website, we usually prefer to do things by ourselves and opt out of tours. But since it’s so hard to get around in Svalbard (between the polar bears and unwalkable distances between things), we decided our best option was this tour.

Here’s just a few of the things we visited on the tour around Longyearbyen :

Svalbard Norway Longyearbyen polar bear warning sign

The famous “don’t go beyond this sign unless you have a rifle because that’s where the polar bears are” sign

Svalbard Norway Longyearbyen polar bear warning sign

EISCAT Radar Station (featuring some adorable polar dogs!)

Svalbard Norway Longyearbyen polar dog husky

Views of the fjords

Svalbard Longyearbyen Norway Global Seed Doomsday Vault

Global Seed Vault (aka the “Doomsday Seed Vault”) — Photo by Ethan Ableman

Svalbard Norway Longyearbyen reindeer

The reindeer of Longyearbyen

Most of these places (like the satellite station and the Global Seed Vault) were things that we would never have been able to get to ourselves. So, even if the tour might seem a bit expensive (they’re 345 NOK or a little over $40 USD), it really is a great option.

The tours are 2 hours long, will pick you up directly from your hotel or accommodation, and run twice a day at 10 AM and 4 PM. You can book online here.

Once you finish your tour, don’t forget to spend a bit of time wandering around the strange, though surprisingly charming town of Longyear!

Svalbard Norway Longyearbyen center

If you like, you can pick up a map from your accommodation or the tourist office of Longyearbyen (although Longyearbyen is so small you likely won’t need one).

And although we didn’t have time to visit, the Svalbard Museum is also supposed to be quite nice.

Day #2: Fjord Cruise to Esmark Glacier & Barentsburg with Henningsen

Clocking in at just under 600 residents, Barentsburg is Svalbard’s 2nd biggest ‘city’ and its last remaining Russian settlement.

Between the brightly colored canteen and dorms where Barentsburg residents (primarily miners and their families) eat and live….

Russian Barentsburg Svalbard Norway Soviet Communist Propaganda Lenin statue

The leftover communist propaganda (which the residents do seem to enjoy making fun of)….

Russian Barentsburg Svalbard Norway Soviet Communist Propaganda

This one says “communism is the goal”

And the Lenin Statue ….

Russian Barentsburg Svalbard Norway Soviet Communist Propaganda Lenin statue

….stepping into Barentsburg will make you feel like you’ve been transported straight back to Soviet times.

Although there’s a few companies that do tours to Barentsburg, we went with Henningsen and we go with them again in a heartbeat.

Beyond your tour in Barentsburg, you’ll also have a lovely cruise through the fjords ….

Svalbard Norway Fjord Scenery Boat Ride Henningsen

…. and pass by a glacier (where we saw 3 polar bears!).

Svalbard Norway Fjord Scenery Boat Ride Henningsen glacier

Photo courtesy of Clare Storry

Plus get a tasty BBQ lunch! 

tour to svalbard

Henningsen runs tours to Barentsburg every day March 1st to October 24th.   

Make sure you dress warmly so you can sit either inside or outside the boat and enjoy the view.

And if your extra lucky, you’ll even have our favorite guide, Marcus! (Honestly, he was the best. I’d even ask Henningsen beforehand what days he’s working to see if you can join his tour).

tour to svalbard

Thanks, Marcus!

You can read more and book your boat tour to Barentsburg with Henningsen here.

In the winter, tours to Barentsburg are done by snowmobile.

Day #3: Independent hike up Sarkofagan Mountain (without a tour/excursion)

If you are not 110% comfortable renting a rifle and using it in the case of a polar bear attack, then you should absolutely not even consider this as an option (instead, you should schedule an excursion/tour with a guide for each day of your trip).

But if you feel comfortable with a rifle, then there are quite a few mountains surrounding Longyearbyen that you can easily hike in a day.

In our case, since Rodrigo has a few years of military experience (including weapon training) and we are both strong hikers, he decided to rent a rifle one day so we could head out hiking on our own.

Svalbard Norway Longyearbyen Hike Sarkofagen Mountain rifle rental

We asked locals, tour guides, and the tourist office for recommendations (which you should do as well), and settled on Sarkofagen mountain because 1) it wasn’t too far away, 2) it was almost impossible to get lost, and 3) conditions seemed to be good (as in, the river wasn’t too high to cross and the glaciers were safe to walk on).

Svalbard Norway Longyearbyen Hike Sarkofagen Hiorthfjellet Mountain

If you think you feel comfortable doing an independent day yourself, scroll down to our “exploring Svalbard without a tour” section below for more info.

On last warning: do NOT attempt an independent hike like this without renting a rifle because you don’t think it’s necessary. There have been polar bear attacks very close to Longyearbyen and taking the chance isn’t worth it.

Day #4: Arctic Challenge (Hiking & Kayaking) with Svalbard Wildlife

This particular tour, considered to be the most physically challenging day tour you can do around Longyearbyen, is great for adventurous travelers!  

The tour begins by kayaking from Longyearbyen to the other side of the fjord, hiking to the top of the mountain there (called Hiorthfjellet) for a view of the city, then hiking down and kayaking back to Longyearbyen.

Svalbard Norway Longyearbyen Hike Sarkofagen Hiorthfjellet Mountain

Hiorthfjellet is that mountain on the other side of the fjord

One reason we chose this tour was for the physical challenge. But also because we knew that even if Rodrigo rented a rifle again, we wouldn’t have been able to get all the way to this particular mountain on our own.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to hike Hiorthfjellet because there was a polar bear sighting on that side of the fjord, and authorities weren’t able to scare it away with the helicopter nor track where it went.  

So instead, we did the originally planned kayak route, then returned to our side of the fjord to hike Trollsteinen (a mountain behind Sarkofagen, the mountain we’d climbed the day before).

tour to svalbard

Honestly, this trip was maybe a bit expensive for what it offered (or maybe we just felt that way because we ended up hiking a similar route to what we did the day before on our own). But it was still a great physical challenge, and being able to go with a group was a lot less stressful than just the two of us and a rifle.

tour to svalbard

And, of course, kayaking with all the cold weather gear was quite the experience!

Svalbard Norway Longyearbyen arctic kayaking

Svalbard Wildlife runs this tour Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from June to September. You can read more info and book here .

Day #5: Fjord cruise to Nordenskiöld Glacier & the (almost) abandoned city Pyramiden with Henningsen

If you thought Barentsburg was bizarre, just wait until you visit Pyramiden!

This once booming Russian mining town, which was home to 1,000 people, is now home to just 9 isolated residents. Yet, the town has remained almost entirely as it was during its Soviet “glory days .”

(Read more about Pyramiden and its bizarre history here )

Abandoned building sign Pyramiden Svalbard Norway

Though many of the buildings are now locked up if you’re lucky your guide will open up a few for you to explore…

Abandoned building Pyramiden Svalbard Norway

Abandoned recreation center

Abandoned building Pyramiden Svalbard Norway

As with the cruise to Barentsburg, the trip to Pyramiden is equally stunning and hopefully filled with wildlife (we saw 2 blue whales, a pod of beluga whales, and a polar bear from a distance). Admittedly, the boat ride is kind of long….but chatting with fellow passengers , admiring the view, and taking a bit of a cat nap will certainly keep you entertained.

Pod of beluga whales Svalbard Norway Arctic trip to Barentsburg

Like with our trip to Barentsburg, we also went with Henningsen and our favorite guide Marcus.

Henningsen runs boat tours to Pyramiden every day March 1st to October 24th. You can read more about the tour and book here.

One more thing: check with the tour company before your trip to make sure the ice isn’t too thick for you to dock at Pyramiden. This sometimes happens and you won’t be refunded if it does.

6.2) Svalbard Winter Itinerary & Activities

The first thing to decide is if you want to go during the “Northern Light Winter” with 24 hours of darkness (1st October – 28th February) or the “Sunny Winter” (1st March – 16th May).

Again, we weren’t there in the winter so we can’t help too much with this. But like I mentioned above, you can check out the Svalbard Activity Planner on the Svalbard Tourism website to see all your options for winter tours and activities.

Svalbard Winter Activities Norway Arctic

Some popular winter activities in Svalbard include:

  • Snowmobile trips to Barentsburg and Pyramiden
  • Snowshoeing/cross country skiing
  • Dog sledding
  • Northern light cruises
  • Ice cave tours

One last tip: before you book an excursion, check the reviews for the tour company on Tripadvisor to see if other people have had good experiences.

6.3) How to visit the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (the “doomsday vault”)

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to visit the interior of the vault. But you can see it from the outside!

The vault isn’t too far away from Longyearbyen, so it might be possible to hike there. However, it is outside the “safe from the polar bear zone,” so you’d need to rent a rifle to make the hike.

Otherwise, as we mention in day #1 of our itinerary above, we highly recommend doing the Longyearbyen and surrounding area tour with SvalbardBuss (which includes a stop outside the Global Seed Vault).

6.4) How to visit Barentsburg

In the summer, there are a few companies that have boat tours to Barentsburg (which also include a tour of Barentsburg once you arrive).

Most of the companies use expedition, icebreaker-type boats (which are awesome because they let you get closer to the glaciers) that have indoor/outdoor seating, and go more slowly.

Like we said in our itinerary above, we went with Henningsen (in one of the slow/expedition/icebreaker-type boats) and had a great time. Scroll up to day #2 of our itinerary for more info about our trip to Barentsburg.

If you wanted to spend the night in Barentsburg, you can try talking to some of the tour companies and see if you can negotiate a 1-way trip (or a round trip that has you coming back on a different day).

In the winter, Barentsburg is only accessible by an overland snowmobile tour.

6.5) How to visit Pyramiden

Visiting Pyramiden is fairly similar to how you’d visit Barentsburg. You either have the option of a slow/expedition/icebreaker-type boat or a fast boat.

As with Barentsburg, we also went in the slow/expedition/icebreaker-type boat with Henningsen and had a wonderful trip. Scroll up to day #5 of our itinerary for more info about our trip to Pyramiden.

In winter, Pyramiden is also only accessible by snowmobiling across the frozen fjords.

6.6) Exploring Svalbard without a tour/by yourself

If you want to venture out beyond Longyearbyen on your own to hike one day like we did (day 3 in the itinerary above), then there’s two important steps you need to take: #1) rent a rifle and #2) ask about the weather and environmental conditions.

Keep on readin’ for some more details about these two steps.  

6.7) Exploring Svalbard without a tour: how to rent a rifle in Svalbard

IF you are comfortable operating a rifle when confronted with a polar bear, then you can rent a rifle to do some individual exploring.

If I was by myself, I would never have dreamed about renting a rifle alone. However, since Rodrigo has military experience and is comfortable operating a weapon if necessary, he rented the rifle (you just need a single rifle per group).

One VERY important thing to know: rifles should primarily be used to scare a polar bear away. Shooting them is an absolute last resort. 

https://www.sysselmesteren.no/en/

Here are the steps you need to take to rent a rifle in Svalbard:

Step 1:   Fill out this application form here and provide a “Certificate of Good Conduct” from your home country. Rodrigo used a background check from his home country, Brazil, as his “Certificate of Good Conduct.”

The “Certificate of Good Conduct” must be in either English or Norwegian, so I then translated the document for him into English from Portuguese.

Step 2:   Print out both forms, sign the application, then email it to the governor’s office on this website here.

Step 3: If you’re approved, you’ll receive an email letting you know with an attached “approved form.” Print this out and bring it to Svalbard with you.

Step 4: When you arrive in Svalbard, bring this form (along with your passport) to Longyear 78 Outdoor & Expedition sports store to rent your rifle. The store is right downtown near the supermarket.

Step 5:   They walk you through using the rifle, you pay the rental and bullet fee and demonstrate you know how to use the rifle, and off you go!  

6.8) Exploring Svalbard without a tour: check the conditions

Conditions change fast in Svalbard and there’s some unexpected natural hazards you need to watch for (meltwater in glaciers, avalanche zones, polar bear sightings, etc.). So, we’d highly recommend talking with the people at your accommodation, the tourist office, tour guides, or locals to see if your hiking route is safe to do currently.

Safety note: If you are heading out by yourself, tell someone (receptionist at your hotel, the person you rent the gun from at the sports store, etc.) where you are going and what time you expect to be back. Tack on a few extra hours to your estimate and ask them to let the authorities know if you aren’t back by then.

   How to work or study in Svalbard

Unlike the rest of Norway (and most other places in the world), Svalbard is a 100% visa-free zone. In other words, anyone from anywhere in the world can come to live and work without a work visa in Svalbard.

If you do plan to stay long-term and arrive without a job offer, however, you do have to show proof of funds to support yourself.

This article here  does a great job breaking down what it’s like to move to and work in Svalbard.

If you want to study, The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) has courses in biology, geology, geophysics, and technology. It’s also the world’s northernmost higher education institution in the world!

To see their courses and learn how to apply, check their website here .

   Final tips for visiting Svalbard

  • Bring good binoculars. This wasn’t even something we thought about before our trip, and we wish we had. Luckily, we had really nice guides who let us use their binoculars. But without them, we wouldn’t have been able to spot those 3 polar bears on the glacier or look at the blue & beluga whales more closely. (Which would have been pretty heartbreaking after going all the way to Svalbard!) You can check some binoculars models and prices here. 
  • Bring lots of layers and warm clothes. Since you’re in the arctic….this should be pretty obvious. Even though we were there in the “summer,” most days I still wore my winter parka (it was around 0 Celsius even in the summer) . Many tour companies will also send you an email after you book an excursion with clothing recommendations.
  • Get crushed ginger or seasickness pills . As you saw in our itinerary, we took lots of boat rides while in Svalbard. If you’ll be there during this same season and are prone to seasickness, make sure you bring something for it (seriously, crushed ginger is amazing for this). You can also find some to buy here. 

Svalbard Attractions, Tours and Activities

If you are looking for activities to do in Svalbard, I recommend looking at Viator and GetYourGuide . These sites have some very fun options for activities, and the best, several promotions.

Best attractions in Svalbard

GetYourGuide

Best attractions in Svalbard

If you didn’t get enough of Svalbard in this looong article, here’s another for you: 18 Amazing Facts about Svalbard .

And that’s it!

Have you been to Svalbard before? Do you have any other tips you’d like to add? Or do you have any of your own questions? Let us know in the comments below!

—– 

A quick disclaimer: we had the privilege of partnering with several of the companies and brands mentioned in this article. As part of our partnerships, we were hosted or may have received discounted rates in exchange for writing honestly about our experiences with them. But as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% our own.

Planning your next trip?

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4 Responses

Sylvia Scales

Hi, very useful info, thanks. What about renting cold weather clothing? We’re going feb 2023.

Sylvia Scales

Nikki @ OutofYourComfortZone

Hi Sylvia – glad to hear the article helped!

Hmm I’m afraid I don’t know too much about cold weather clothing rentals. Since we went during the summer, we could “get away with” our normal winter jackets.

Do you already know what activities you’re going to be doing while you’re there? I know if you book a snowmobile excursion or the like, they will probably supply heavy-duty winter gear. So it might be worth contacting some of these companies and seeing if you could rent out these clothes for your entire stay.

If you find somewhere you can rent, do you mind commenting back here so I can update the article for other travelers?

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Flannels or FlipFlops

Best Places to See Northern Lights in 2024

Posted: January 5, 2024 | Last updated: January 5, 2024

tour to svalbard

Aurora Borealis, otherwise known as the Northern Lights is a gorgeous natural phenomenon that captures the intrigue and excitement of people young and old. If the thought of seeing ribbons of green and pink dancing across the dark sky makes you want to book a flight, these are the top destinations for viewing the Northern Lights.

he skies over Svalbard are painted with a brilliant display of green and purple auroras, shining over a vast snowfield with dark, rugged mountains providing a dramatic contrast.

Svalbard is one of the furthest north-inhabited places on Earth. Picture dramatic fjords, wild mountain peaks, Arctic animals like polar bears, and fluffy Arctic foxes. It’s also one of the best spots to see the magical Northern Lights, especially in winter when the nights are long.

The aurora borealis dances above a small Greenlandic settlement, casting a green light over the snow-covered houses and the icy terrain, with a backdrop of dark, starry skies.

Greenland, is a winter wonderland like no other! This huge island is a playground for adventure lovers. It’s got everything from massive icebergs floating in the sea to cozy little villages where you can chill with the locals. And let’s not forget the starry skies and the amazing Northern Lights that dance above.

A magnificent aurora display arches over an Icelandic winter landscape, where the ground is sparsely covered with snow and the mountains in the background are under a gradient of green and purple night skies.

Get ready to fall in love with Iceland, the land of fire and ice! It’s a place where volcanoes meet glaciers, and geysers shoot up next to beautiful waterfalls. And, oh, the Northern Lights here are simply out of this world!

Aurora Borealis, with vibrant green and faint purple colors, stretches across the night sky above a snowy and desolate landscape in Estonia. The ground is covered in snow, with subtle details of the terrain visible under the soft aurora glow, and the mountains in the distance are silhouetted against the illuminated sky.

Norway is a dream destination for anyone who loves breathtaking scenery. Think deep fjords, towering mountains, and quaint fishing villages that look like they’ve come straight out of a storybook. The Northern Lights here are just the icing on the cake. Imagine watching them from a cozy cabin or even while cruising along the coast.

The Northern Lights create a mystical green canopy over the dark silhouettes of Alaskan pine trees, with the stars gently dotting the night sky, suggesting a peaceful and remote wilderness setting.

Alaska is a land of endless adventure and awe-inspiring beauty! It’s a place where you can see glaciers up close, spot wildlife like bears and eagles, and fish in crystal-clear waters. And when night falls, get ready for a dazzling show, as the Northern Lights dance across the sky. Head to Fairbanks for one of the top Northern Lights viewing destinations in the world.

tour to svalbard

Finland is like a page from a storybook, especially in winter. Imagine a landscape of snowy forests and frozen lakes, perfect for skiing, ice skating, or riding a sleigh pulled by huskies. And then there are the Northern Lights, shimmering over the peaceful countryside.

The night sky over Voyageurs National Park is alive with a spectacular display of the Northern Lights, casting ribbons of green and purple that shimmer above the dark, shadowy outlines of the boreal forest.

Minnesota, the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’, is so much more than just lakes! It’s a winter wonderland where you can ice fish, snowmobile, or just cozy up by a fire. The Northern Lights here are a special treat, adding a splash of color to the clear night skies. Voyageurs National Park is the prime spot for aurora peeping in Minnesota.

Bright green Northern Lights streak across the sky above a snowy Manitoba terrain, with the glow partially illuminating the small, distant structures and the winter road leading into the horizon.

Canada is a treasure trove of natural beauty and vibrant cities. In Yellowknife, you’re in the heart of Northern Lights territory – it’s one of the best places in the world to see this dazzling display. And Manitoba? It’s just as amazing, with its own spectacular light shows and the added bonus of adorable polar bears!

Vivid green and pink auroras stretch across the night sky over Estonia, painting a surreal scene above the dark silhouette of a forest, offering a stunning contrast between the natural light display and the earthly tranquility of the trees below

Estonia is a hidden gem in Europe, where medieval charm meets modern vibes. Its nights are lit by the mesmerizing Northern Lights, best viewed from the serene countryside. Estonia’s forests and national parks offer a peaceful escape, while the capital, Tallinn, is a fairy-tale city with cobblestone streets and historic buildings.

he Northern Lights appear as a celestial dance of vibrant greens and blues above a rugged Scottish coastline. The moon adds a bright focal point amidst the aurora's glow, while the silhouetted terrain and houses add a sense of solitude and wonder

Scotland is a land of legends, from its majestic castles to its mysterious lochs. The Northern Lights add to its magic, especially in the Shetland Islands where the skies come alive with color.

An ethereal panorama of the Northern Lights swirls above a snowy Faroese landscape, with the aurora's green hues reflecting off the snow-covered ground and the silhouettes of distant mountains.

Denmark is the epitome of Scandinavian cool, a country where design, history, and nature seamlessly blend. The Northern Lights here are just one of its many wonders, best enjoyed in the Faroe Islands.

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COMMENTS

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    Longyearbyen, located at 78° north, is the world's northernmost community. This is the kind of place where the locals take their kayak, their rifle, their tent, and their dog, and spend days exploring the icy landscapes. These people are badass. In Svalbard, many adventures await. You can go on "soft" adventures like short hikes or boat cruises.

  5. Svalbard Tours & Holidays 2023 Arctic Voyages

    Tour Standard Basecamp Nordenskiöld Svalbard 5 days - Independent adventure tour | True Arctic Wilderness. Premium Svalbard Svalbard Northern Lights Adventure 4 days - Silent Esledding, Wilderness Safaris & Ice Cave Adventure in Spitsbergen Premium Svalbard Magic of the Arctic 5 days - Boutique stay in Svalbard | Rib boats | Glacier exploring

  6. Svalbard

    Svalbard - Travel to Svalbard (Spitsbergen) with PolarQuest Svalbard (Spitsbergen) Since 1999, we have taken adventurous travellers on once-in-a-lifetime trips to Svalbard. From May to September our three small expedition ships, carrying a maximum of only 12 and 50 passengers, explore this magnificent Arctic archipelago.

  7. How to travel to Svalbard

    The flights from Oslo takes about 3 hours, from Tromsø about 1 ½ hours. Passport or ID-card Due to Svalbard being outside the Schengen area, identity control is performed for all guests travelling to and from Svalbard. This also includes Norwegians. All guests, both Norwegian and foreign citizens, must bring their passport or national ID-card.

  8. 10 Best Svalbard Tours & Trips 2024

    10 Best Svalbard Tours & Trips 2024 - TourRadar Home / Europe tours / Svalbard tours / Svalbard tours Svalbard Tours & Trips 2024 Find the right tour package for you through Svalbard. We've got 66 trips going to Svalbard, starting from just 6 days in length, and the longest tour is 25 days.

  9. Svalbard Holidays

    from £ 4,835 pp Arctic Odyssey - Svalbard Expedition Take the historic 1968 voyage, now tailored for modern travelers aboard the MS Trollfjord. Cruise along Norway's scenic coast to Spitsbergen, the largest island in Svalbard. Find out more

  10. Cruises to Svalbard

    Travel Guide to Svalbard. The population of Svalbard is approximately 2500. Longyearbyen is the largest settlement in the islands and is also the seat of the governor. It's a colourful modern town with first-class facilities, like excellent hotels and restaurants, regular flight connections to mainland Norway, as well as an impressive range of ...

  11. How To Travel To Svalbard (2022 Guide With Multiple Options)

    The by far best option of getting to Svalbard is to fly from either Oslo or Tromsø to the airport on Svalbard (Longyear Airport). Flight time is between 1.5 and 3 hours from Norway, and takes you very close to Longyearbyen, the main city on Svalbard. Homes on Svalbard. Photo by Peter Vermeij, published with permission.

  12. Svalbard Experts

    Svalbard Experts is a travel company that specializes in creating unforgettable trips to Svalbard, an archipelago located in the Arctic Ocean with a focus on providing unique and immersive experiences. Svalbard Experts has become one of the leading travel agencies in the region, and provides services mainly to families and couples. ...

  13. Svalbard Cruises, Tours & Trips

    Join this spring journey from historic Edinburgh in Scotland all the way north to finish in Svalbard, deep inside the Arctic Circle. En route explore in depth Norway's dramatic glacially sculpted coastline, UNESCO sites and the charming villages of the…. 15 Days. $5,128.

  14. Svalbard Cruises

    If you are eager to discover the beauty of polar terrain this year or have a vacation planned for 2023, we offer numerous Svalbard tours to choose from, such as Spitsbergen, Greenland, Polar Ice Edge, and more.

  15. Svalbard Cruises

    Almost 65% of Svalbard is a protected nature reserve or a national park. Svalbard is the archipelago (chain of islands) off the north coast of Norway. Svalbard has the world's third biggest ice sheet, coming behind only Antarctica and Greenland. Svalbard is made up of 4 main islands, and almost 150 smaller islands.

  16. Svalbard Cruises & Expeditions

    Your quest for the farthest reaches of the earth can bring you to the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago—the realm of the polar bear. This landscape between Norway and the North Pole is remote and rugged, its vistas glistening and gorgeous. The varied itineraries and flexible schedules of our Spitsbergen expeditions make your visit an absolute certainty—and long overdue.

  17. Polar Bear Tours in Svalbard

    Polar Bear Tour A number of our Svalbard cruises afford you the possibility of spotting a polar bear. Experience these living emblems of the Arctic for yourself, check out our wide selection of polar bear tours. Polar Bear Tour cruises Region: Arctic Destinations: Svalbard Where to see polar bears

  18. First-timers guide to Svalbard

    Sep 15, 2022 • 10 min read Visiting Svalbard is a proper Arctic adventure © Ondrej Prosicky / iStockphoto / Getty Images Your first visit to Svalbard may seem a bit daunting. Midway between Norway and the North Pole, this remote Norwegian island is a land of extreme climate, glaciers and polar bears.

  19. Best Svalbard Tours: 12 Excursions That Are Worth Your Money

    Radisson Blu (good base for activities!) Basecamp Spitsbergen (best location, in my opinion) Coal Minerʻs Cabins (budget option- further from town) This is my list of the best tours in Svalbard and excursions that are good value for their money… and they will help show you one of the most magical places on Earth. Best Svalbard Tours

  20. Visiting Svalbard

    Svalbard Wildlife In-Depth. Travelling at the height of summer this 14-day trip is the longest of any Svalbard cruise - providing the best possible conditions for wildlife encounters. This circumnavigation of Spitsbergen includes huge glaciers, bird cliffs and ice choked channels. There's even…. 14 Days. $10,995.

  21. Things to do

    Snowmobile. Everyone in Svalbard drives snowmobiles - and you should try too! Northern Lights adventures. In Svalbard you may be so lucky as to spot the impressive Aurora Borealis both during the day and night in the Polar Night. Ice Cave visits. Join us into the frozen world, underneath the glaciers. Dog Sledding.

  22. Welcome to Longyearbyen

    The latter has an impressive wine cellar and is one of Norway's best restaurants. Longyearbyen is located at latitude 78˚ North - just 1,316 km from the North Pole. Longyearbyen is a three-hour flight from Oslo or a 90-minute flight from Tromsø. Longyearbyen is situated on the island of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard ...

  23. Ultimate Guide to Visiting Svalbard, The Arctic (even on a Budget!)

    6.8) Exploring Svalbard without a tour: check the conditions . Conditions change fast in Svalbard and there's some unexpected natural hazards you need to watch for (meltwater in glaciers, avalanche zones, polar bear sightings, etc.). So, we'd highly recommend talking with the people at your accommodation, the tourist office, tour guides, or ...

  24. Svalbard Bryggeri: How to Book a Tasting + Tips (2024)

    Svalbard Bryggeri Tasting Session (A Quick Review!) Duration: 1.5 hours Meeting Point: at Svalbard Bryggeri Language: English, Norwegian (they spoke in both and had the room split in two) 🍺 CLICK HERE TO BOOK!. The tours and tastings are offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at the Svalbard Bryggeri.. They start at 6pm and last 1.5 hours (I think mine ran over a bit).

  25. Best Places to See Northern Lights in 2024

    Svalbard Picture dramatic fjords, wild mountain peaks, Arctic animals like polar bears, and fluffy Arctic foxes. It's also one of the best spots to see the magical Northern Lights, especially in ...